Friday links: peak researcher, DFO action film, and more

Also this week: assortative mating by major, remembering Bob Paine, Leibig’s Law of the Minimum (productivity), and more.

From Jeremy:

Jane Lubchenco’s obituary in Nature for Bob Paine.

Terry McGlynn on what most limits the research productivity of PIs at teaching institutions: lack of grad students, technicians, and postdocs, not lack of time. Relevant to recent discussion of correlations between NSERC Discovery Grant evaluations and institution size.

Further to our recent discussion of when researchers peak, new data from a study of sociologists, economists, and political scientists. Goes beyond previous work in accounting for cohort effects, and for considering research outputs besides papers. Finds that productivity increases rapidly until promotion to associate professor, remaining stable thereafter. Unreviewed preprint, which I’ve only skimmed, so caveat emptor.

College graduates don’t just tend to marry other college graduates–they tend to marry college graduates who majored in the same (broadly defined) field. Not too surprising, of course, though I’m a bit surprised at just how strong the effect is: field-of-study homogamy is twice as common as you’d expect if college graduates married at random. (ht Economist’s View)

Discussion of Canadian data on the proportion of graduate degree holders in low-paid employment. Yes, that proportion has increased in the last 20 years. No, there’s not a simple story of “overeducation” to be told here.

A journalist on learning to love the economics blogosphere. Don’t know that it applies to any other scholarly field, at least not to the same extent, because the econ blogosphere is much bigger and more active than any other. (ht Tony Yates)

And finally, the Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans takes a novel approach to managing invasive species.🙂

2 thoughts on “Friday links: peak researcher, DFO action film, and more

  1. Interesting how often peaking at tenure time shows up. My own experience (which I think is very typical) is that it marks a shift in quality, not quantity. Specifically a shift from first authored publications to large collaborative papers and papers from students where I am 2nd author. But by raw quantity of papers I’m doing many more/year now than my postdoc/assistant professor days, but my contribution to each paper is smaller.

    • “My own experience (which I think is very typical) is that it marks a shift in quality, not quantity. ”

      The data in the linked piece suggest that “peak” is actually a plateau from tenure until retirement, with the mix of one’s contributions changing during that time. Which sounds like it describes you (though in the social sciences, the changing mix is more about replacing papers with books and book chapters, apparently).

      Not sure how typical that is. I don’t think I’ve shifted much in quality or quantity since my postdoc days, really. I actually wish I’d shifted more, but my lab isn’t large enough to get me to the point where I’m mostly 2nd or last authoring large numbers of grad student papers. And I’m rarely involved in large collaborations, and I doubt that’ll ever change. I may well be atypical (at least compared to Americans who hold NSF grants, or “high flier” Canadians), but I’m not sure if I’m just slightly atypical or a big outlier or what. I did once say that I wanted to be the Jamie Moyer of science

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