Also this week: Meghan quoted in Nature, the role of universities in politically tumultuous times, “gotcha bias”, and more.
I’m a bit late to this one, but better late than never because I suspect it will be of great interest to many of you. Writing in Ecosphere (open access), Hampton & Labou use the raw data from the 2013 NSF Survey of Doctoral Recipients to quantify the career paths of recent US ecology PhDs. The headline results (but do click through, the whole paper is well worth your time):
- Involuntary unemployment of ecology PhD holders is low (3.3%) and job satisfaction is high. Those results don’t change if you restrict attention to post-2000 PhD recipients. My comment: this should come as no surprise. It’s roughly in line with the involuntary unemployment rate for all US PhD holders.
- Only 5.6% of those employed report holding a job unrelated to ecology. My comment: interesting, I’d have guessed it would be higher.
- About 40% of post-2000 ecology PhDs are employed as tenure-track faculty (I got that number from eyeballing Fig. 2). My comments: I’m surprised it’s as high as 40%, I’d have guessed lower. Hampton & Labou focus on faculty hires at PhD-granting unis rather than at all colleges and universities, a focus with which I would quibble. But that is just quibbling.
- They find that gender balance of ecology faculty is improving, though they focus on more time-aggregated data than I’ve done in my blogging on this. So if you didn’t know, recently-hired N. American tenure-track ecology faculty are 57% women, slightly higher than their proportion among post-2000 ecology PhD recipients (52.3% in Hampton & Labou’s data) and their proportion among ecology postdocs (46.2% in Hampton & Labou’s data).
- About 92% of post-2000 ecology PhD recipients identify as white. My comment: One could ask why the gender balance of US academic ecology has shifted steadily towards equitability for many years while racial diversity hasn’t moved nearly as much.
A review of The Wizard and the Prophet, a history of mid-20th century environmentalism. Traces the roots of the ongoing conflict between “prophets” who think we need to cut back to avoid global catastrophe, and “wizards” who think that technological innovation can save us. This was already on my reading list for this year, now I’m moving it up the list. Sounds like a good companion piece to The Bet, which I reviewed here. Here’s a quote from The Wizard and the Prophet, from which I learned something I didn’t know:
So ineradicable was the elitist mark on conservation that for decades afterward many on the left scoffed at ecological issues as right-wing distractions. As late as 1970, the radical Students for a Democratic Society protested the first Earth Day as Wall Street flimflam meant to divert public attention from class warfare and the Vietnam War; left-wing journalist I.F. Stone called the nationwide marches a “snow job.”
Edward Levi, then-President of the University of Chicago, on the role of the university in politically tumultuous times. Eloquent, and very timely–even though it’s from 1967.
A bit late to this, but Meghan was quoted in Nature last month with her top academic career tips: learn the power of yes, and take care of yourself.
An interview with Shahid Naeem about Naeem et al. 1994, the paper that can take much of the credit for kicking off interest in biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships. Lots of interesting and entertaining backstory here. Mostly familiar to me, but probably not to many of you. (Also, is my memory going? Have I linked to this before?)
Data on the gender balance of economics students from high school through graduate school. The male skew of economics PhD recipients has its roots in or before high school, but doesn’t get any worse (or better) from the undergraduate degree recipient stage to the PhD recipient stage. (ht Economist’s View)
An unreviewed preprint reporting survey data from political science, suggesting that preregistered replications are likely to be subject to publication biases favoring statistically-significant results, and favoring results that overturn previously-published results (“gotcha bias”). Some of the reported effect sizes are quite small, and survey data about hypothetical papers may not predict evaluations of actual papers very well. But the results support my priors so of course I’m going to share them. 🙂 (ht @kjhealy)