Things I wish other people blogged about


I make a point to post at least once a week. Sometimes the blog posts are full essays, sometimes they’re just a less ordered collection of thoughts, such as this one.

One of the reasons I helped start Rapid Ecology is that I wanted to see a much broader range of voices in this medium. I think it’s great to get a casual perspective from people other than you, and I think in his field, we need more voices. So, I’m thrilled that it’s taken off so well.

I write about a range of issues here, but there are also a lot of things that I choose to not write about here, because it’s not a fit for the site or because it’s not a fit for my own experience. But there are so many things that I’d love to see other people share. For example:

-Did you read a new paper that you think is particularly cool or important — or has a big blind spot? Blog posts that are like journal clubs, including a discussion in the comments, would be awesome.

-What podcasts and music are you listening to in the lab? Meg Duffy wrote about this four years ago, updates from a variety of people would be awesome.

-What is one of your favorite papers that you’ve ever read, and why? (I wrote a post like that once, it’d be great if others could share their own favorites.)

-How do you define professional success, and how do you think this evolves of your the course of your career?

-How to teach particular concepts. There’s a lot of conversation in general about teaching approaches, but what are some good active learning ways to teach (for example) about genetic drift, or Lotka-Volterra models, or vicariance biogeography, or experimental design or whatever else.

-How is your research shaped by available funding? Regardless if you’re a grad student or run a huge lab, how do you plan your work to scale with funds? What do you do when the external cash runs out?

-What are your struggles as a scientist who is a member of a marginalized group? How are that universities, departments, and labs are doing things right (if they’re getting anything right), and what are the biggest areas needed for improvement? I write about this from the perspective of a white tenured guy at a regional public minority serving institution, and I think having many more perspectives is important.

-Moving personal stories about climate change.

-How PhD students and postdocs are getting professional development to do things other than become a tenure-track faculty member.

-Stories of bystander intervention where sexual harassment taking place, and tips and training related to bystander intervention as a part of culture change

-Suggested reading lists. I do one every two weeks, but other people are reading different things of course!

-Any way in which you disagree with conventional wisdom, and why.

-Thoughts about parenting and doing science and academia. (I have written about being a parent and a spouse on the rare occasion, but at a very young age, my son asked for privacy about these matters, and I’ve respected this.) I realize I should be talking about being a parent-in-science more often, because this is a huge part of our lives, and keeping this sequestered just amplifies gender inequities.

-How science and academia is done at different kinds of institutions. I write about this from the Small Pond perspective, having been at a wide range of places, but clearly, other folks must have other thoughts.

And so much more.

In my experience, the time invested into writing a one-off post is minimal, compared to the potential for impact. I hope even more folks give it a go! And, if you’re some kind of ecologist, by the way, feel free to post in Rapid Ecology.

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