Also this week: eco/evo faculty jobs wiki for 2016-2017, a common question you shouldn’t answer, parent accommodations at the ESA meeting, what ails higher ed, great (animal) escapes, and more.
NSF’s DEBrief blog had a post summarizing the spring 2016 preproposal results. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I love that NSF-DEB has a blog where they share this sort of information.
Accommodations for parents at this year’s ESA meeting. The Early Career Section, led by Sarah Supp, has done a great job of working to make the meeting friendlier to parents. This includes making it so caregivers can enter the conference center; this is something that has been an issue for folks in the past, making it difficult to get a hungry baby to mom. Thanks to the Early Career Section for their work on this! (ht: Margaret Kosmala)
John Hutchinson’s powerful personal tale of life as a diminishing scientist. And here’s the epilogue. (ht Meg from a post earlier this week; I thought it was worth highlighting again, because many people will go through the struggle of adjusting to a major change in their lives.)
Long-term data on authorship in economics since 1980. The trends mirror those in other fields. The mean number of authors per paper is climbing steadily. Sole-authored papers, once common, are now somewhat rare. The number of papers with at least one female author has been rising steadily and now stands at 35%. Interestingly, that’s actually higher than the proportion of women among economics PhD recipients, even in recent cohorts.
Speaking of Functional Ecology: EiC Charles Fox’s choice quotes from the best and worst reviews of his work. I actually hesitate to link to this. There’s a risk that some readers will mistakenly think such quotes are typical. They’re not. Just read it for a chuckle, and for a reminder, if one were needed, that everybody gets the occasional bad review.
Faculty: next time a student or trainee asks how many hours you work, don’t answer. Instead, say this. (ht Terry McGlynn, via Twitter)
Speaking of Terry, he suggests that grant reviews should be double-blind. I respectfully disagree. I don’t think program directors should be left to evaluate whether the people submitting the grant have the expertise, facilities, experience, etc. to do the work, with no input from reviewers. There’s much more that could be said here, and that I did say in an earlier draft of this linkfest. But then I decided to not be me and just leave it at that. 🙂 As always, comments are welcome.
Writing in Plos One, Murray et al. present data on NSERC Discovery Grant reviewer scores by size of applicant institution. Scores tend to run lower for DG applicants from smaller institutions, a fact which Murray et al. argue indicates bias against applicants from small institutions. Kudos to them for asking an important question and compiling data to address it, but I’m not convinced by their conclusion.
Researchers aren’t assigned randomly to institutions, and there are lots of contextual factors that vary with institution size and that will directly and indirectly affect everything that goes into a researcher’s DG application. My own view is that reviewers ought to scale their evaluations of DG applications relative to at least some key contextual factors, particularly previous grant size. Again, much more that could be said here if folks would like to comment. 🙂 (ht Stephen Heard) (UPDATE: Thanks to a comment from Terry McGlynn, I now see that what I’ve written here was at least unclear, and possibly worse. I replied to clarify some of what I wrote, and will be reflecting further on Terry’s comments and thinking harder before I say anything more. I apologize for expressing hasty thoughts, and for not expressing them better. In light of Terry’s comments, I’ve struck through one remark that was particularly hasty and particularly unclear.)
Harry Brighouse discusses a new book on what ails American higher education and how to fix it. I found it interesting because it questions some widespread views that I myself held. The most provocative bit:
[I]t is hard to see why a sensible legislator concerned with improving education, or with improving fairness in education, would prioritize additional funding for higher education. Why? It’s not a priority if you care about fairness, because higher education is not a universal program, but one which less than 2/3rds of the cohort participate in, and is not even available to those who have received the worst education up to that point, who are almost exclusively among the less advantaged people in society…It’s not a priority if you just care about getting an educated population because we know that investments in early childhood and k-8—the education levels in which everyone participates–are more cost-efficient up to some saturation point which we are still quite far from.
Am Nat humor. 🙂 (ht Brown-banded Homo mathematicus)