Friday links: how to have a writing day, and more

Also this week: Stephen Heard vs. Paul Erdős, your PhD vs. you, and more.

From Meghan:

This “My writing day” piece by Jon McGregor is great. Here’s a brief part, but it’s hard to find just one quote that does the whole thing justice:

There are other sorts of time, besides the writing time. There is thinking time, reading time, research time and sketching out ideas time. There is working on the first page over and over again until you find the tone you’re looking for time. There is spending just five minutes catching up on email time. There is spending five minutes more on Twitter because, in a way, that is part of the research process time. There is writing time, somewhere in there. There is making the coffee and clearing away the coffee and thinking about lunch and making the lunch and clearing away the lunch time.

Not surprisingly, I also loved this part of the McGregor piece:

(Fun fact: I have never been asked how I juggle writing and fatherhood. I’m not complaining; it’s nobody’s business, and nothing to do with writing. But I wonder what assumptions lie behind the question of juggling writing and motherhood coming up so regularly?)

PsycGirl had a post on importance vs. sustainability, which notes:

Something can be really important to you, but not sustainable. Just because something is important does not mean you can sustain it on sheer wish alone.

I think I need to remind myself of that more!

From Jeremy:

Stephen Heard’s Erdős number is 3. Can anyone here beat that?

One reason why it is difficult to “rationally” decide whether to get a PhD: a PhD may totally change you.

Why is there a widespread perception that history is “declining” as an academic discipline in the US, but remains prestigious in the UK? I know nothing about this and so can’t evaluate it. I just find it interesting to read about how people view their own disciplines.

Economist Claudia Sahm on the proposed professional code of conduct for economists. Very good piece. (ht @noahpinion)

Pew has a big new report on experiences and perceptions of harassment, discrimination, and diversity in US STEM workplaces. (ht @noahpinion)

New proposed indices of citation counts. From economics, not sure how well it would translate to other disciplines. And of course, any quantitative metric is only going to be a crude measure of “influence”. But still, I thought these indices were kind of interesting.

Sadly, I think Kieran Healy’s read of the market for books about academia is correct.

10 thoughts on “Friday links: how to have a writing day, and more

  1. Re the economics citation statistics. They make sense to me. Very analogous to the Hill numbers where # of species is one hill number (q=0) and simpson (q=2) uses an exponent of two to emphasize dominant species, but a whole spectrum inbetween exists. Almost any complexification of bibliometrics has to be an improvement.

    But what does it say that sports statistics have been using these general formulas for over a decade? (I’m thinking of the pythagorean formula for win percentage).

    • I’m clearly slipping. I think of myself as the biggest sports fan at Dynamic Ecology, and so am embarrassed that you, not me, were the first of us to notice a connection to sports stats. 🙂

  2. Hi guys! A bit off topic but I really need to ask you this.
    Do you have any blog post about lab travel or some kind of spatial isolation to work and produce some papers? Me and my lab mates are planning a kind of travel to any calm beach or to the countryside to work on our papers and we are just looking for tips. Anyway, I thinks it should be a nice idea for a post 😉 thanks


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