Also this week: lots of advice for faculty, and lots of reasons to quit worrying about whether you’re doing the things you “have” to do to become faculty. Oh, and presentation advice from Goldfinger.
In a really interest piece from rOpenSci, the authors get serious about what full reproducibility of analyses really entails.
And this comic from xkcd has the best one panel description of the magnitude of climate change we are facing that I’ve seen. Although the details are actively debated, it definitely gets the ballpark right. I used a conceptually similar slide in my lectures, but of course this one is much better executed!
Here’s an essay on how to be a good faculty mentor to junior faculty. Among other things, it says “Tenure-track faculty members are pretty clear about what they want: tenure and a life. It really is that simple…The good news is that the pathways to productivity and balance are well-studied and well-documented. The bad news is that it means learning behaviors that are the opposite of how most academics have been socialized in graduate school.” Some of the points in there link with points I raised in my post saying you do not need to work 80 hours/week to succeed in academia. I was recently on a panel of junior faculty, and was pleasantly surprised that all four of us panelists said a 40 hour work week is typical for us.
Tenure, She Wrote had an eye-opening post on what life is like for an assistant professor who is simultaneously trying to get her lab up-and-running, teach, and dealing with her husband’s severe depression. Her biggest regret is that she didn’t open up to her department chair sooner, since her chair was able to help with support, a flexible schedule, and connecting them with resources at the university.
And here’s another important post from Tenure, She Wrote that focuses on the challenges women can face when deciding whether it’s safe to go in the field, and the frustration of having to potential turn down a great research opportunity because of concerns about safety. This reminded me of work by Kate Clancy and colleagues on sexual harassment and rape while doing field work.
Robert Talbert at Casting Out Nines had a post on the four things he wishes he’d known about the flipped classroom before he started using it. It includes that “the flipped classroom entails significantly more work at the beginning than a traditional classroom.”
Female Science Professor asks why grant reviewers now seem to expect PI’s with long track records of mentoring success to propose elaborate mentoring plans for their trainees. Anyone else run into this? Because I’m with FSP on this one–given the context, these reviews seem rather unfair to me.
A debunking of the myth that papers in top journals are essential to getting hired and promoted at research universities. Publishing in more highly-regarded journals does help, but there’s no sharp break between a few top journals and all the rest. Not definitive, since there’s always lots of collinearity in these sorts of data, other predictors you could include/exclude, etc. But still: just because lots of people say that papers in top journals are essential doesn’t mean they are! See this old post for more debunkings of academic myths.
Relatedly: in this old post Emilio Bruna notes that separating correlation from causality when trying to predict scientists’ future career prospects is really hard. So don’t get too exited/upset/scared/depressed the next time you hear somebody make some overly precise or overly confident statement about what you “have” to do to have an academic career.
Trendy new news media startup Vox has an interview with Stuart Pimm about currently-high rates of species extinctions and what can be done about them.
How to name animals in German. Step 1: Does it look like a pig?🙂 (ht Marginal Revolution)
And finally, this is nothing to do with ecology, but I thought the following quote from the piece was really funny. Even though I myself have never felt the urge it expresses!🙂
There’s a scene in which Goldfinger stages an elaborate Powerpoint presentation to a roomful of henchmen, and then immediately gasses them all to death. As someone who has to give a lot of public talks, I found this progression of events curiously appealing.