Recommended reads #31


“Does it count?”: count for what? In most cases, it’s an academic job, one with some security and stability; so whether something counts towards tenure is the point, with all the implications this brings. This question of “what counts” – whether it’s articulated explicitly or operating as an underlying theme in academic conversation – reveals something about the ways in which academics’ decision-making is influenced by perception of what will be rewarded with advancement in the existing system.

  • People selectively evaluate the practices of great people. For instance, John Adams’ vehement opposition to slavery was — at the time  — a great contrast with Washington, Jefferson and most other contemporaries, even though we don’t make as much of it nowadays. Just like many US citizens have given a pass to the slaveowning founders of the United States, is the scientific community willfully overlooking the overt misogyny of great scientists of the 20th century, including Richard Feynman? Is this something that we really should be sweeping under the rug, especially when this has happened so recently, and still continues?

  • Thoughts on what to do and where to publish from the ever-thoughful Daniel Lemire:

What should a sane computer scientist do then? His main focus should be on producing lasting contributions to his field. He should then publish them where they are likely to be noticed… If all you have ever done is fight for scarce spots at a selective venues, you have achieved nothing of importance. Really important work creates tangible value that is self-evident.

Institutions are made up of groups of people, and when some groups become relatively larger and better-paid than other groups, the balance of power in the institution shifts. Bergmann was already concerned about excessive growth of administration in higher education a quarter-century ago. Many faculty at institutions of higher education have been quite willing to hand over the reins of steering their institutions to non-faculty professionals, and instead to retreat to their research and their classrooms. Many administrators have been quite willing to take up those reins. The role of tenure-track faculty in higher education has diminished, and the role of administrators has increased.

And, the last two are World Cup links:

2 thoughts on “Recommended reads #31

  1. Terry, not sure it actually is easy to fake a citation/review ring, certainly not at that scale. At least I really, really hope not (but just in case I googling all my Subject Editors right now to make sure they actually exist).

  2. It’s still really hard to imagine the development of a such a review ring, thinking of the game theory and the cost of a defection. But, the detection probability of an existing ring getting this far suggests that it just can’t be the only one out there. Especially in a field/culture in which there is the greatest pressure or reward for getting stuff published.

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