A new survey reveals that economics departments only partially prorate credit for coauthorship. This creates an incentive for people to work in inefficiently-oversized collaborative groups, perhaps partly or even largely explaining the rise in mean number of authors per paper. Discussion from Andrew Gelman here. And coincidentally, Joan Strassman just posted on the same general issue, suggesting that it’s not a problem and that if anything people ought to make more effort to seek out collaborators with skills complementary to their own. Do you think there’s a problem with excessive coauthorship in ecology? If so, I suppose formal statements of author contributions are one way to address it, at least in part. Some journals now require these, and I’ve decided to routinely include them in the Acknowledgments of my papers whether they’re required or not.
Why you can’t “test” for multicollinearity. Briefly, because it’s a characteristic of your sample, not of the population. So it’s the sort of thing you can describe, but not the sort of thing you can estimate or make inferences about. (HT Economist’s View)
And finally, this cartoon has nothing to do with ecology, but as a (naturalized) Canadian I found the second panel really funny. “So, you’re saying that Canada is like a whole country’s worth of Oregon.” 🙂
I finally got a chance to read this article by Karen Lips where she talks about spending the past 15+ years researching the chytrid fungus that has decimated amphibians globally and trying to rally people to respond. It’s a powerful essay.
And, some last minute additions to my Friday links, both of which urge us to be more careful in the language we use. First, from Terry McGlynn, a call to stop referring to influential senior scientists as ‘silverbacks’. As Terry says, it’s sexist. Only males are silverbacks. Second — and very much related — is this explanation for the blog “Grandma Got STEM”. It points out that, when people say things like “explain it so that your grandmother can understand!”, that conveys the message that older women will have a difficult time understanding technical/scientific concepts. In other words, both of these posts are good reminders that we should be careful about how we speak.