Also this week: online events for early career researchers in evolution, the coming college apocalypse, and more.
I want to work but I can’t. This resonated with me.
Cornell University plans to hold in-person classes in the fall, arguing that it will actually result in fewer coronavirus infections among students and staff than an online semester would. That argument of course depends on various assumptions, such as that all undergrads would return to Ithaca even if classes were online-only. But the crucial assumption is that, by holding classes in person, the university can force even asymptomatic students to take frequent coronavirus tests (e.g., by denying untested students access to email accounts and residence halls). Meanwhile, at USC…
Following on from the previous links, here’s professor of US higher education finance Robert Kelchen on why the next month is going to be awful for US colleges and universities.
Upcoming online events for early career researchers in evolution, from the ASN, SSE, and SSB.
Ken Hughes on the half-life of citations, and why he cites so much old stuff.
Writing in Ecology and Evolution, Roxanne Beltran et al. report data on UC Santa Cruz undergraduate student demography (race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, first-generation), major choice, GPA, and graduation rate in relation to whether or not the students took field courses. They also report survey data on self-efficacy gains. They find that students from historically underrepresented groups are just as likely as others to be interested in EEB majors when they start university, but are less likely to graduate as EEB majors, both because they’re less likely to graduate and because they’re more likely to switch to other majors. That may be in part because students from historically underrepresented groups are less likely to take field courses.
Here’s a forthcoming paper on what a pioneering advocate of experimental approaches in economics, Charles Plott, had to say to get reviewers and editors to accept his papers. I’d be curious to see studies like this of other pioneers of new approaches in other fields. Particularly curious whether private debates about the merits of new approach X (in the form of reviews and responses to reviews) mirror public debates.
Examples of famous scholars with low h-indices. Examples include Nobel Prize winner Peter Higgs (of Higgs boson fame) and Andrew Wiles (prover of Fermat’s Last Theorem). HT a correspondent, who noted that ecologists who could be added to that list include Robert MacArthur (WoS h-index of 21), Stephen Fretwell (11), and Ray Lindeman (2). From evolutionary biology, George Price is the first person who comes to my mind. Clearly, the best ways to become a famous scholar with a low h-index are (i) make a major discovery or solve a really important problem, (ii) have the foresight to become famous many decades ago, and (iii) die young.