Recommended reads #139


Academia is a cult (I don’t agree with everything in here but there’s a lot of what people call food for thought)

Teaching mistakes I’ve made

Short bios of the nine new scientists in the US Congress and here’s a nice infographic from Science about everybody who ran

Being good at responding to reviewer comments

This obituary for Ruth Gates makes it clear what a special person she was.

Responding to misconceptions of being a grad students

A review of peer review makes it into the NYT

Faith is the diversity issue ignored by colleges

Sarah Boon reviews “An Inclusive Academy” and now it’s on my shopping list. She also ran an experiment by blogging more frequently, and here’s her reflection.

What was the most influential book of the past 20 years? A bunch of scholars listed their picks. Only one book was listed twice, and that happens to be the only one I’ve read. Since this was the Chronicle of Higher Ed, though, they couldn’t be bothered to ask anybody in STEM, it seems.

Should we cite awful people? I disagree with the author.

Bottlenecks in the open access system

It’s nice to see Cornell not playing ball with the authoritarian Chinese regime, as so many other US universities have

The resonances between Indigenous art and images captured by microscope

Make a difference: The alternative for p-values

Community colleges don’t ask faculty to be super-researchers while also asking them to be super-teachers. Not every sector can say that. One of the sector’s strengths is its relative clarity of mission, compared to the rest of higher ed.”

Why I’m starting a college Natural History Program in 2018

The Plant Science Research Network has a cracking list of funded summer research opportunities for students

Have a nice weekend (and perhaps I’ll see you at the ento meeting in Vancouver).


4 thoughts on “Recommended reads #139

    • I’m sorry Jeremy, I didn’t see this post of yours that just came out! (And this is the first time I’ve been able to look at this site all day!) I kinda sorta agree with you?

      When the subject matter is such that citation would be a surplus (not considered to be foundational), then yeah, I wouldn’t cite a harasser.

      When it’s a historical work, what I might be inclined to do is to cite a review paper that caps up all of the work but not necessarily name-check or cite the harasser.

      If I’m really working to do this right, then it’s possible (maybe even likely) that the person who did this foundational work had suppressed work by others, or stolen credit for work done by others, or hogged the credit for the work even though there were others in the field who were doing it well but aren’t as well cited for it. So I’d be inclined to cite those people, if they exist and I can find them. I don’t know enough about the genetic advances of Ayala, for example, to know which contemporaries of his got marginalized when he got the credit, but my understanding is that this happened to at least some extent. But, for example, when it comes to foundational work in extinction biology, I would make a point to cite people other than Pimm, perhaps scientists who worked with him who had not received the credit that they deserve.

      I don’t think we should erase the names of harassers from history books. But I would prefer that their names stay in the books about the history of science.

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Terry, and apologies if I came across as plugging my own post. It was just more convenient to link to it rather than retyping it here.

        I was thinking about a related issue: would you as a reviewer ever ask an author not to cite a harasser? Or not to cite someone who in your view has stolen credit that should go to others? Perhaps accompanied by a suggestion as to what they could cite instead? What about if your were an editor, and so had power to insist on whatever revisions you wanted? As an editor, would you order an author to (say) not cite Pimm on extinction biology and instead cite a review paper, on pain of having the ms rejected otherwise? This isn’t an issue I’ve thought about much. My first reaction is that I personally wouldn’t do this, as a reviewer or editor. And I think I’d be a bit uncomfortable if some other editors and reviewers started doing it. But as I say, I haven’t really thought about it.

        And what if you were an author and got asked by a reviewer, or told by an editor, to cite someone you’d rather not cite? Say, a reviewer asked you to cite Pimm’s foundational work on extinctions? What would you do? I guess you could just explain why you’d rather not do that in your reply to the reviews, just as with any other reviewer or editor comment with which you disagreed. But if the editor insisted you add the citation, I guess you’d have to decide between citing someone you’d rather not cite and withdrawing the paper, right? I feel pretty strongly that it wouldn’t be ok to do what I saw suggested in another piece on this issue: add the citation, then once the ms is accepted, delete the citation at the proof stage without telling the editor you’re doing it. I don’t think authors are entitled to deceive editors and reviewers.

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