Also this week: the irony (or maybe paradox?) of publicly-funded research, an ecology blog gets archived by the Library of Congress, academics in children’s books, and more…
Shameless self-promotion: The University of Maine has a nice article about our very own Brian McGill. Talks about his efforts to do policy-relevant science, his blogging, and the links between the two.
The irony (or maybe paradox?) of publicly-funded scientific research: the government seeks to pay for research that will yield high returns–but that the private sector won’t pay for. Which in practice means paying for research for which the expected returns are high but uncertain. Nice post and case study. I’d only add that there are other big reasons for the government to pay for scientific research, such as that the “returns” aren’t monetary, or at least aren’t easily monetized by individual firms. See this old post for related discussion. (ht Economist’s View)
BioDiverse Perspectives has an interview with Tony Ives (UPDATE: link added), whose award-winning work we’ve discussed before. Check out his views on what skills grad students should cultivate (“I don’t think graduate school should be about cultivating skills”), the importance of failure (“One of the things that I’ve learned is to allow myself to be epically wrong…and not in a ‘but I learned so much that good came out of it’ way, but just good plain wrong”), imposter syndrome (“I don’t think I’ll ever get over the imposter syndrome”), and more.
The EEB and Flow is going to be archived by the Library of Congress. Congratulations to Marc Cadotte, Caroline Tucker et al.–that’s pretty cool! I’m officially jealous. 🙂
Related to my recent posts on “culture clashes” and the norms and practices of post-publication review: here’s an interview with Paul Brookes. He’s the originally-anonymous founder of the now-defunct science-fraud.org, a controversial website on which he identified papers he argued were fraudulent (e.g., due to duplication and illegitimate manipulation of gel images). He shut the site down after someone contacted his university and many others, revealing his identity and threatening to sue him. I don’t have an opinion one way or the other on science-fraud.org (I never looked at the site and don’t know enough about it). I just found it interesting to read about why Brookes did what he did, and what has and hasn’t happened to him since. (ht Retraction Watch)
Barraquand et al. (open access) report results of a survey of quantitative training among early-career ecologists. The survey respondents wish they’d been taught more math and statistics.
Top stats blogger Andrew Gelman on why he still publishes in journals, rather than just putting everything on his blog or on ArXiv or whatever. His reasons seem cogent to me, and include (but aren’t limited to) “to reach a bigger and/or different audience”, “to get peer review that improves the paper”, and “to get validation that encourages others to use the approaches described in the paper.”
An unsurprising but depressing survey of how academics are portrayed in children’s books. (ht @franceswoolley)
Hope Jahren has good general advice about whether you should be on Twitter. Much of it’s probably familiar to many of you, but it’s well-put. If anyone asks you for advice on whether they should be on Twitter, just point them to Hope’s post, and then to Meg’s for more specific suggestions on what Twitter is useful for.
A while back I suggested that ecologists should read more philosophy. Apparently, so should businesspeople, entrepreneurs, programmers, and engineers. Anecdotal, obviously, and many of the philosophy students quoted in the article might well have gone onto success without studying philosophy. But still, I do think there’s something to it. Then again, since I took several philosophy classes in college, I would say that! 🙂 (ht @learnfromerror)
This page has a lab philosophy that includes list of interesting articles on the culture of science (scroll down a little to get to the list). I’ve read several of the articles on the list and found them interesting, and look forward to reading more of them. (ht: Caitlin Pepperell)