Friday links: how to make science more accessible and posters more effective, and more

Also: rural communities can be revived by creating/growing college towns, and more!

From Meghan:

I enjoyed this blog post by Amy-Charlotte Devitz about the anxiety that comes along with needing to wonder if events, buildings, etc. will be accessible. She notes:

you don’t want to make people feel like a burden because of their accessibility needs. Feeling like an inconvenience or annoyance is an everyday struggle for me and it is one shared by many others, especially if their disability is not an obvious one.

It’s definitely relevant to those of us who organize events and who teach. Charlotte’s piece reminded me of this earlier Chronicle piece about creating a welcoming classroom, where the author, James Lang, talks about an event he attended related to accessibility. At the event, a student said:

What we don’t want is to be made to feel like we are a burden to you because we have requested accommodations. Many of us already have this feeling that we’re burdening you, and it really helps if you can treat us like you want us to be in your course. We’re not asking for accommodations to make your life difficult, or because we’re trying to get away with something. We want to be in your course. We just need your help learning the best we can.

which led Lang to reflect:

Although I like to believe that I work hard to make my classroom a welcoming place for all students, I had never fully considered the burdens of a lifetime spent making requests for accommodations, and how that might weigh on their understanding of themselves and their sense of self-worth.

On to posters: This video generated quite a bit of discussion on twitter this week. It’s long (~20 minutes) but I think it has an interesting take on the problem (it goes much deeper than just “posters have too much text”) and has a concrete suggestion (including a template) for how to solve the problem. I don’t know that I will use the template exactly, but I have to make a poster for later this month, and I am sure it’s design will be influenced by this video, especially it’s call to use negative space more in posters. (One valid critique of the video that has been made by folks on twitter is that it makes it seem like it’s trivially easy to figure out the take home message for one’s study, when this is actually a skill and takes thought and effort.)

And, finally, this tweet from my colleague Dan Rabosky merged the above themes, raising more important points about accessibility, including at poster sessions:


One thing that everyone can do during regular talk sessions is to use the microphone and not claim that your voice is loud enough for everyone to hear. (I’ve been guilty of not using the mic myself, unfortunately.) This article by Goring et al. has more ideas on how to make conferences more accessible.

From Jeremy:

A vision for reviving the rural US by creating/growing college towns. Seems very cogent and well-argued to me, and I don’t just say that because I’m a prof who likes college towns. But obviously, we can’t know for sure if it would work without trying it.

Is Galileo overrated?

Friday links: 50 years of the tragedy of the commons, biostatistical baking, and more

Also this week: low-risk, low-reward publication strategies among women social scientists, whatever happened to 90s environmentalism, Andrew Gelman vs. Judea Pearl, Twitter vs. harassment (but not in the way you think), scholarly disciplines as conversations, and more. Lots of good stuff this week! (for some value of “good” and the usual values of “lots”, “stuff”, and “this week”)

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Bonus Friday link: NSF’s Bio Directorate removes proposal submission limit for 2019

For the US folks, NSF’s Bio Directorate had an important announcement yesterday, removing the limit on the number of proposals someone can submit as PI or co-PI in 2019. Here’s part of the announcement:

Having listened to community concern and tracked the current low rate of submission, and following extensive internal consultation, BIO is lifting all PI or co-PI restrictions on proposal submission for FY 2019, effective immediately.

BIO recognizes that it is important to track the effects of the no-deadline policy on proposal submission patterns, to ensure that a high-quality review process is sustained. Therefore, we are seeking approval from the Biological Sciences Advisory Committee to establish a subcommittee to assist in developing the evidence base for any future policy changes that may be needed.

I think this is great news! And I completely agree with Mike Kaspari:

Friday links: scientist baseball cards, top economics blogger retires, and more

Also this week: pulling back the curtain on rejection without review, tenure for non-academics, running for Congress as a scientist, zombie ideas in psychology, PI liability for scientific misconduct by their lab members, scientist dad jokes, and more.

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