Friday links: science like somebody is watching, active learning vs. turnips, and more

Also this week: reintegrating following a mental health leave, anchoring effects vs. open peer review, is one of the world’s most famous neuroscience results a statistical artifact, and more.

From Jeremy:

Advice for PIs for helping trainees reintegrate into your lab following a mental health leave.

Has the advent of Google Scholar increased the fraction of citations going to the most-cited papers? Link goes to a graph in a talk, so I don’t have any basis to evaluate the claim. Anyone know more? (ht Marginal Revolution)

Visualizing coupled oscillators. I may have to steal this for my next talk on spatial synchrony of predator-prey cycles.

Advice on seeking a government science job in Canada. And also academic job seeking advice.

A few years ago, open access megajournals that select only on technical soundness once looked like the future of the scientific literature, or at least a big part of the future. Now, not so much.

One of the world’s most famous neuroscience experiments, the classic one purportedly showing that we don’t have “free will” because we make decisions before we’re consciously aware of the decisions we’ve made, apparently was a statistical artifact. Might have to add this one to my list of statistical vignettes. But first I’d need to read up on the subject a bit more. I found this interesting because neuroscientists seem to have been quickly and widely convinced that the classic result was mistaken. That doesn’t always happen when a classic result is seriously questioned.

What college admissions officers at elite colleges really want, and why. Great piece.

Apparently, active learning is like a turnip: good for you even though you probably don’t like it. In a randomized controlled experiment, students assigned to be taught with active learning methods learned more than students assigned to lectures–but they felt like they learned less. Students may interpret the increased cognitive effort associated with active learning as a sign that they’re not learning the material.

Why anchoring is a problem for open asynchronous peer review. I get the sense the world is moving towards double-blind review rather than open review, so the point made in the linked post might be moot in the not-too-distant future?

How do you hold yourself accountable when nobody else is looking? For getting writing done, I’ve found Meghan’s suggestion of a writing group to be very helpful. It’s just like how, if you make a date to go running with someone else, you’re going to go running. Whereas if you were just planning to run on your own you might skip it.

I’m glad to hear that ecoevojobs.net, and my various data-based analyses of the ecology faculty job market, have inspired an equivalent effort in earth sciences.

I’m very late to this: Agnes Callard on progress in philosophy. Weird thought exercise: think about how much of this applies to ecology. Related. Also related.

One animal rights activist’s theory of systemic change. Interesting wide-ranging interview.

On the aptness of anger. Great piece that’s making me rethink some of my views. (ht @jtlevy)

2 thoughts on “Friday links: science like somebody is watching, active learning vs. turnips, and more

  1. You have linked to the “mega-journals lost their momentum”- article. I’d like to add that this article is about a very specific business model, not about the reviewing process. The Frontiers in… series, for example, has the same reviewing criteria and also publishes in large volume over multiple disciplnines, but it was not considered in the linked article, because it consists of many journals rather than forming sections of a single journal. If Frontiers is added to the figure, it looks less gloomy, though growth is still decelerating (very quick WoS search, possibly with typos):

    To me the more interesting question would be how the reviewing model (assessment free of novelty and impact) is performing. My guess is that specialized journals with the same reviewing criteria (such as Ecology & Evolution) are taking over, but I have no idea how common such journals are. And going through thousands of journal websites to check the criteria is maybe not the best use of one’s time…

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