Friday Recommended Reads #4


Predicting successful scientists early in their careersThere was a paper in Bioscience by Bill Laurance et al. with a somewhat obvious finding that students who publish a lot early will publish more and be more successful, in traditional measures. The final author of the paper, Corey Bradshaw, wrote about this paper in his blog, acknowledging that this kind of thing just feeds the frenzy for frequent publication over thoughtful and reflective publication. The argument for fewer and better papers is often made by Lee Dyer among others. (This is Dyer’s “Public and Perish” talk as a pdf). But before you get all excited about the Laurance et al. paper, you might just want to read Emilio Bruna’s high-quality assessment of this paper, which really makes you wonder how it got through the peer review process by the editors of Bioscience. Maybe we could convince the authors of the paper to respond to Bruna’s remarks in the comments on his site.

Don’t Be That Dude. Tenure, She Wrote does it again with a handy list of things that men should be sure to do, and not do, in the academic workplace to promote gender equity. Early indicators are that this post has given birth to yet another textspeak acronym, #DBTD.

Trouble delegating research tasks? Chris Buddle has your back. Keep yourself from burnout, get more done, and be a better mentor.

Just as troubling as the death of the Duquesne adjunct Mary Margaret Vojtko were her living conditions, as described the article to which I linked last week. The activism for a living wage for contingent faculty has grown in the past week, especially in the face of asshattery, excuse-making and rhetorically absurd justifications by the people in charge at Duquesne University. Lots of great things have been written about it, and by far my favorite has been this one by Rebecca Schuman. She explains why people at large aren’t up in arms about the tiny fraction of university budgets that go to pay for the efforts of the majority of instructors. I am remarkably surprised how mum tenure-track faculty are on the matter. I hope it’s not because we’re just a bunch of lazy selfish bastards, as was argued by one petulant commentator on my post on the topic earlier this week.

Staging the World Cup in Qatar is projected to cost the lives of thousands of migrant workers, caused by the lack of regulation and human rights abuses of the non-citizen underclass. What makes this more troubling is the abject lack of concern in the pro forma response by the people in power who are capable of preventing these labor-related deaths.

How about having journals put in offers to publish your paper? Here also is a curious newish phenomenon in scientific publishing. Some folks have set up a for-profit business that solicits peer reviews for you, and then journals can see the paper and reviews and put in an offer. They’re just doing ecology/evolution at the moment, and some mighty decent journals have signed on, and others will accept the reviews from this group. They’re called Peerage of Science. As for the for-profit thing, well, most scientific papers make it to press with for-profit publishers. Anyway, I’m tempted to try it out. If so, I’ll let you know how it goes. The notion that a set of reviews travels with a paper from journal to journal is a lot better than the idea of editors having to scrape the barrel again and again to get more and more reviews for the same manuscript. As for any scientists who don’t like the fact that this is a for profit company, I’m sure these objectors must charge for-profit publishers for reviews and editorial services, and wouldn’t ever let a for-profit journal publish their work without getting a cut from the publisher.

Jim Henson died early and suddenly, but he wrote goodbye letters well in advance. They are light-hearted and touching. That’s brought to you by Letters of Note, one of my favorite nodes on the internet.

You’ve seen those camera trap images of an eagle taking out a deer, right? Just in case you haven’t. You can go find that picture of a Rhinella marina toad that swallowed a bat on your own.