Recommended reads #75


Mistakes I’ve made as an early career researcher

A recent story in the New York Times is explaining how it looks like that Chinese go at digging a canal across Nicaragua looks unlikely. Thank goodness, as this would’ve been an environmental tragedy.

Chic in Academia: Assembling affordable outfits for professional women

Wow there’s a cool piece of art at Uluru, in the middle of the Australian outback.

The editor of The Science of Nature — aka The Journal formerly known as Naturwissenschaften — wrote an editorial about how we’re doing authorship wrong and how we need to get back to the good ol’ days and use acknowledgements more robustly. There’s an acknowledgment that our credit system is outdated (as I’ve argued), but there’s no clear way forward other than: “It is up to us as scientists to show integrity and honesty when publishing, to self-govern and regulate through principles of fairness.” Good luck with that, everybody. I thought there were papers about game theory in The Science of Nature somewhere?

Why supplementary data are evil. Yet another editorial about publishing in an academic journal, this time Ecology and Evolution. The fact that editors are sending time writing blog-post-like editorials in academic journals about the publishing environment shows there’s dissatisfaction with the way things are. But the vague suggestions for change aren’t going to result in much change.

Big surprise: faculty at regional public universities who unionize get paid a lot more.

Our natural history collections are endangered.

Speaking of which, every faculty member of the largest university system in the United States is going on strike this upcoming week, including me. I’ll be recording a podcast about it this weekend.

How to Graduate More Black Students. Not brilliantly innovative, but also not wrong.

The Museum of Everyday Life, an actual museum. HMCoSecondEdHobbits

A longer read on “The invisible catastrophe.” It happened not too far from where I live, but hurts everybody in the world just as much.

Rate my professors, but for field schools.

Author-preferred reviewers rated papers much more positively than did editor-selected reviewers, and papers reviewed by author-preferred reviewers were much more likely to be invited for revision than were papers reviewed by editor-selected reviewers.”

What changes when a school embraces mindfulness? Other than yoga, that is.

Reinforcing loose foundation stones in trait-based plant ecology. Taking a look at the “functional” part of functional traits. Finally.

When you are a woman in a male-dominated STEM field, weird things happen to you. People say weird shit or give you weird looks or write weird letters of recommendation for you. And this is just the good guys, the male colleagues who are at the core respectful and supportive of you.

A few years ago, there was some paperwork to be submitted by a deadline as part of a large collaboration. I was stressing out about it, and a very senior collaborator (older than my father) was mocking me for wanting to make the deadline “like a good little girl.”

A professor at the College of Charleston was put on unpaid leave because he didn’t want to comply with his administration’s request for a few tangible learning outcomes in his genetics class (that he says he hasn’t changed in decades). A good argument has been made that defending this guy is kind of like being a member of the ACLU and defending the KKK’s right to have a parade. Yeah, he’s “the asshole,” but his academic freedoms are the same as ours.

Some top notch scientists are spending their time studying the sociology of scientists, in an effort to make science more inclusive. Here’s a great story in Science about this work.

There’s been a lot of to-do about how the US has become anti-intellectual. I disagree. We’ve always been anti-intellectual. In the 1960s, the historian Richard Hofstadter wrote a book explaining how anti-intellectualism is a part of the American fabric. I read this in college and some of its ideas really stuck with me.

“PC Culture” isn’t Killing Higher Ed (But Your Crappy Op-Eds Might Be)

An analogy-laden explainer of the prestige game in academia that slowly burrows its way to the heart of a lot of issues I write about in this site.

A statistical take on the same phenomenon from FiveThirtyEight. Seriously if everybody reads this article I’d be inclined to stop blogging and get off twitter because it says almost everything I feel like saying about academia.

I was a terrible PhD supervisor. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.”

“The U.S. president talks through his hardest decisions about America’s role in the world.” I miss this guy already and he’s still got more than half a year left.

So you’ve been scooped. While this piece of writing contains some worthwhile truths, I could not possibly disagree with its thesis, that it doesn’t matter if you get scooped.

What English majors don’t know. And in general, the Good Enough Professor has had a string of recent great posts.

The Learning Scientists is a good blog about the science of learning. It seems to be more about testing than learning, but hey everybody has their own focus I guess.

27 Turkish professors advocating peace get thrown in prison.

The Slow Professor Movement.


Have a great weekend!

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