There are many aspects of the academic system that are unfair, inequitable, or just no longer fit for purpose in today’s world. Yet we are bound to work under these processes, which for many academics means we are either finding ways to work around them, working under them reluctantly, or leaving academia because of them.Continue reading
How damaging is sexy soundbite scicomm?
The ‘tyranny of the sound bite’ has plagued politicians and celebrities for decades. Pithy one-liners, taken out of context, can be extremely damaging to a person’s reputation.
In science communication, Sexy Science soundbites, condensing complex ecological problems into simple data points or the efforts of single researchers, can damage public understanding of science.
We’ve seen this with Insect Armageddon and the recent ‘3 billion lost birds’ story. Ecology is the science of nuances, and any claim of global patterns or precise data points must be interpreted with context.
Much of the problem with these soundbite disasters lies with the science communication around the story, not necessarily the science itself. Continue reading
PART I. Peer Review of Grants: Can we make it better for ECRs?
This post is co-written with Jasmine Janes & Sean Tomlinson. Some thoughts on grant peer review from the perspective of early career researchers….stay tuned for Part II tomorrow, including a survey!
The current system of peer reviewing grant proposals is recent, relative to editorial peer review. It started informally in the USA around the 1950s, apparently within Defence-related research offices, and quickly spread to the major government funding bodies. Today, peer review of grants is commonplace, because it can assist in justifying government spending on research and vet ideas before expert peers.
But how fair is the process for early career researchers (ECRs)? Grant peer review is a similar process to editorial peer review and many of the same issues apply. We won’t go into too much detail on editorial issues, as these have received in-depth treatment elsewhere. Here we explore some of the issues that we have experienced personally when applying for grants.
Why I Tweet
(LINKS UPDATED 2017)
I’ve just hit a technological milestone. This month was my 1 year Twitter anniversary, which apparently equates to about 4.3 years in internet time. I can’t believe we’re still together.
I’m pretty old-fashioned when it comes to technological bandwagons. Having left Facebook years ago, swearing on my pencil case never to join social media again, I was a bit suspicious of Twitter. I finally signed up with the intention of trying it for a couple of months to see what I thought. Continue reading