Friday links: the history of lecturing, and more

Also this week: Science Photographer of the Year, not #pruittdata, planning for an in-person fall semester, and more.

From Jeremy:

The ESA has a new data sharing policy. The biggest change seems to be that data and code sharing is now required as a condition for publication in all ESA journals. Previously, only some ESA journals required it.

Interview with Moderna Covid-19 vaccine designer Kizzmekia Corbett on vaccine hesitancy.

Canadian universities should be planning to teach in-person classes in the fall. I agree with this.

An overview of the career of Steward Pickett, who in 2011 became the ESA’s first black President.

Musa al-Gharbi on education, social elites, and uneven racial progress in academia (and outside it).

Saloni Dattani and Nathaniel Bechhofer on how to accelerate scientific progress. It’s a mostly-familiar list of up-and-coming reforms to scientific research and publishing practices. But it contains an interesting observation that I don’t think gets emphasized enough: the rate at which any given reform (data sharing, preprints, study preregistration, etc.) has been taken up varies widely among scientific fields. Perhaps that illustrates one reason to have distinct scientific disciplines, each with its own practices: it promotes the development and (partial) uptake of novel practices that improve on the status quo. Although maybe it also slows the spread of practices across disciplinary boundaries. Seems like there’s a loose analogy here to migration, adaptation, and maintenance of diversity in heterogeneous environments.

The biggest unanswered questions about Laurentian University’s finances.

Some of the winners of the Royal Photographic Society’s Science Photographer of the Year competition.

Alex Usher reviews Jonathan Zimmerman’s The Amateur Hour, a history of pedagogical approaches at US colleges and universities. I hadn’t realized how early US universities adopted huge lectures in order to cope financially with their growing student bodies. Harvard had 500-student economics classes in 1914!

An EEB retraction that has nothing to do with #pruittdata: Christensen et al. 2018, reporting a new genome sequence of arctic charr, has been retracted at the request of the authors, after the authors discovered that the fish they sequenced may not have been an arctic charr. Reading the details, it sounds to me like a mistake that could easily happen to anyone. Kudos to the authors for doing the right thing as soon as they discovered the error.

2 thoughts on “Friday links: the history of lecturing, and more

  1. Laurentian seems to be down to the blame game – is it management, auditors or board who is responsible. I found the comments exchange interesting – the necessary details were apparently buried in the audit, but not ever pulled together into a conclusive picture. I can tell you that my school board auditor would not have failed to highlight these issues to the board even if it didn’t get put in black and white exactly that way in the report (which are often very anodyne). And as I said last week, anybody with a 3 or 4 year history of reading their audits should have been able to watch the bank balance shrinking under a claimed balanced budget and put 2+2 together enough to ask questions. It still is very hard for me to read the story and not see that the administration knew they were heading down the hole and hoping to bury it while they tried to find a way out (its a nearly universal story in financial train wrecks). Although the latest really makes me question what the board knew too (although the post’s point about university boards being more political than accountability rings true here in the US too).

    As I said, lots of finger pointing. Meanwhile students and staff are suffering.

  2. I agree with Jeremy and the author of the piece that we should be planning to teach in-person in the Fall. There’s a caveat though. We have to assume the great Canadian vaccine fiasco will get solved before then, and a policy on vaccines in the universities has to be established. In my institution, I doubt we are anywhere near such a policy being reality. Nonetheless, I have to wonder what a fourth semester of online teaching will do to teachers’ and students’ mental health.

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