Recommended reads #204


Black@PWI: navigating an anti-Black campus climate

Meet the professor who hiked 500 miles across the Mojave Desert

Why I shrank my lab in half.

Maternal instinct is a myth created by men.

Biological collections are often scaffolded on a career’s worth of effort from single individuals who are highly dedicated to their work. What happens when these people retire or die? This is a sustainability challenge for the long-term protection of irreplaceable specimens. This article in Bioscience touches on these issues and I think it’s a valuable read even if you’re not a collections person, because so much of science relies museum collections (even if we don’t realize it).

Science reports on big-time data fabrication by Danielle Dixson

Why mandatory supporting, not mandatory reporting, must guide university sexual misconduct policies

Breaking the silence around academic harassment

Nature has a good story about bystander intervention. (As a parenthetical aside, and you can tell it’s parenthetical because I’m using parentheses (and because asides are, in their own nature, already parenthetical), I just wanted to say that I recently found myself in the midst of some overt bullying in an academic gathering, and nobody was doing any bystander intervention, so I did, and well, I got the fundamentals right but I didn’t calibrate the nuance so well. But the world didn’t fall apart, and it’s abundantly clear that what I did was better than not having done it. I just wanted to encourage the more senior of my gentle readers to prepare to choose the best Ds for any given moment (direct, delegate, delay, distract, and/or document), and to remind y’all that, like so many other skills, the ability to do bystander intervention develops with practice. I think it’s hard to be able to do this because it’s not like we can pick and choose moments to practice, and when you see inappropriate behavior in the wild, it’s easy to freeze or make a rash decision. It helps to think about this, read up, and retrain. Just like CPR certification, it expires if you don’t refresh.)

A set of principles and practical suggestions for equitable fieldwork in biology

The whole thing is unsafe. Some wise perspective on holding conferences in parts of the United States that have laws that restrict civil rights based on gender identity and have legal restrictions on access to reproductive healthcare.

Colleges should stop trying to appease the [fascists]

Someone did the experiment to find out whether the online cheating-detection software Proctorio actually detects cheating. The answer is, well, no, it doesn’t.

It’s time for civil disobedience by scientists. And here’s another paper about civic resistance by scientists.

So a couple dudebros created an app for college students that buys slots in high demand courses from enrolled students and sells them to students who are low on the waitlist. I think this kind of late-stage-capitalist nonsense can only happen when universities aren’t managing their waitlists well? Because I mean, if a spot opens up in a course, then shouldn’t whoever is at the top of the waitlist automatically get it? It sounds like they’re exploiting a loophole in software or university enrollment policies.

This preprint about the impact of dominant theories (paradigms) that constrain how we do science in ecology offers a lot to chew on. (In the early days on this site, I wrote some posts about the risks of doing work embedded deeply in theories-of-the-moment and how we tend to mine too deeply into too few veins. This paper has the same vibe.)

Saying no is a skill.

Looks like someone created a rate-my-professors for university administration. huh.

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