Also this week: signing science, why Stephen Heard should’ve been a philosopher, gender and racial diversity of economics seminar speakers, “that baboon does not love magic”, and more. Lots of good stuff this week!
Years ago Meghan suggested two-stage peer review: review of the introduction and methods before the study is conducted, review of the results and discussion after the study is conducted. Some Nature journals have now implemented a version of this in the form of “registered reports“. The main difference to Meghan’s suggestion is that registered reports drop the second stage of review: the journal commits to publishing the paper based only on review of the proposed introduction and methods.
Interesting story on how HHMI and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are scaling up the Myerhoff Scholars Program, a very successful–and very expensive–program to prepare minority undergraduate students for careers in academic research. The program’s success seems to reflect both the kind of students they enroll–they target high-achieving students already interested in academic careers–and the support and opportunities it provides those students. I bet y’all have a…wide range of opinions on whether that combined approach–selectivity plus support–is a Good Thing or a Bad Thing. Speaking personally, and emphasizing that I only know nothing about the Myerhoff Scholars program beyond what’s in the linked article, I think the combined approach makes sense, given the goals of the program.
The story of the deaf British undergrad who has invented over 100 new British Sign Language signs for technical scientific terms.
Time series data on the gender and racial diversity of invited economics seminar speakers at 11 US colleges and universities. Since 2014, the percentage of women among economics seminar speakers has bounced around between 20-30% (i.e. the same or a touch higher as their representation among full time US economics faculty), with no long-term trend. The percentage of black/Hispanic/Native American speakers is very low (even lower than their representation among all full-time US economics faculty), but seems to be increasing slowly. Interesting project, I’d be curious to see a similar exercise in ecology. In fact, I’m so curious I’ve already
started working on done it! Keep your eyes out for a future post asking you to guess the results… (ht Marginal Revolution)
Am Nat’s instructions to its editorial board members. You should read this even if you’ll never submit to Am Nat. I wish more editorial boards worked this way. Am Nat’s editors (I’m one) are thoughtful and act like additional reviewers, even on papers that don’t get sent out for review.
The 2019 Shanghai global rankings of universities in various subject areas have been published. Here are the ecology rankings, the University of Montpellier is #1. I link to this mainly to prompt y’all to share your thoughts on these ranking exercises. How well do the Shanghai ecology rankings line up with your own mental ranking of the world’s “top” ecology programs? Are you surprised how highly many European universities rank (contrast the very US-dominated sociology rankings)? Perhaps more importantly, do you even have a mental ranking of the world’s “top” ecology programs? If so, do you think it’s useful, for any purpose? For instance, in some social science fields program reputation matters a lot for faculty hiring decisions. But that’s not the case in ecology, so is there some other useful purpose that program rankings serve in ecology? (ht Org Theory)
While Stephen Heard has been fighting valiantly to get scientists to allow single whimsical footnotes into their papers, philosophers have been writing entire papers intended to be sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things”. I leave it to you to decide if this is a point in favor of science, or a point in favor of philosophy. 🙂 (ht @kjhealy)
The Harvard prof and the paternity trap. I hesitate to link to this. It’s a wild story and I worry that people might try to draw broader lessons from it. (ht @dandrezner)
This week in opinions that I share, that are obviously, inarguably correct. 🙂 (ht @dandrezner)
And finally, this week in public science outreach:
🙂 (ht seemingly everyone on the intertubes)