experience the trials and tribulations
of their taller, less-plasticy peers (previously 1, 2)
"Given the desire for ambitious scientists
to break from the pack with a striking new finding, Dr. Ioannidis reasoned, many hypotheses already start with a high chance of being wrong. Otherwise proving them right would not be so difficult and surprising — and supportive of a scientist’s career. Taking into account the human tendency to see what we want to see, unconscious bias is inevitable. Without any ill intent, a scientist may be nudged toward interpreting the data so it supports the hypothesis, even if just barely." [more inside]
We analysed 5,483,841 research papers and review articles with 27,329,915 authorships.
We find that in the most productive countries, all articles with women in dominant author positions receive fewer citations than those with men in the same positions. And this citation disadvantage is accentuated by the fact that women's publication portfolios are more domestic than their male colleagues — they profit less from the extra citations that international collaborations accrue. Given that citations now play a central part in the evaluation of researchers, this situation can only worsen gender disparities.
The data are also used to make a really cool interactive map
An aspiring scientist's frustration with modern-day academia.
A resignation letter circulated to staff and students at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, which has caused a bit of a splash in the science community. Lee Smolin
, author of The Trouble with Physics, responds
in the comments.
A large portion of scientific research is publicly funded. So why do only the richest consumers have access to it?
The hard numbers behind scholarly publishing's gender gap
- The Chronicle of Higher Education
investigates the nature of gender disparity
in science and humanities publishing, with the help of researcher Jennifer Jacquet in collaboration with Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington, whose Eigenfactor
) is used to map the intersection of gender and authorship
articles from 1665 to 2011. [more inside]
The emergence of a citation cartel.
"Cell Transplantation is a medical journal published by the Cognizant Communication Corporation of Putnam Valley, New York. In recent years, its impact factor has been growing rapidly. In 2006, it was 3.482. In 2010, it had almost doubled to 6.204.
When you look at which journals cite Cell Transplantation, two journals stand out noticeably: the Medical Science Monitor, and The Scientific World Journal. According to the JCR, neither of these journals cited Cell Transplantation until 2010.
Then, in 2010, a review article was published in the Medical Science Monitor citing 490 articles, 445 of which were to papers published in Cell Transplantation. All 445 citations pointed to papers published in 2008 or 2009 — the citation window from which the journal’s 2010 impact factor was derived. Of the remaining 45 citations, 44 cited the Medical Science Monitor, again, to papers published in 2008 and 2009.
Three of the four authors of this paper sit on the editorial board of Cell Transplantation. Two are associate editors, one is the founding editor. The fourth is the CEO of a medical communications company."
(from Scholarly Kitchen
, via Andrew Gelman
prospects in the field
are incredibly high
, recent trends, such as "tools grow[ing] more advanced"
(see Adobe Flash Builder
or MS Visual Studio
) have had people wondering over the past few years if computer science has much room for growth left. Some question whether it is alive.
Others, such as Carnegie Mellon
, say not so fast. In any case, employment has been a bit iffy
). There is the possibility that Computer Science is simply growing up (PDF)
, then again the U of Florida decided to say good bye to it this past week.
But hey, if you are not going to that University, and still are shooting for computer science, here are some tips
The Cost of Knowledge
lets scientists register their support for a boycott
of all Elsevier
journals for their support of SOPA, PIPA (tag
) and the Research Works Act (previously
). It appears the boycott was inspired by Field's medalist Tim Gowers'
recent comments describing his personal boycott of Elsevier journals
. [more inside]
Is There a Shortage of Skilled Foreign Workers? What is never mentioned is that “the best and the brightest” are already here
. This argument is an old one
. [more inside]
"The purposes of the Association shall be to advance
At this year's meeting of the American Anthropological Association
anthropology as the science that studies public understanding of humankind in all its aspects."
, the organization's board adopted a new mission statement
whose description of its goals omitted all mention of anthropology as a science. An online debate ensued
. Some researchers in the anthropological sciences
are upset about the changes
, while right-wing culture warriors see it as another salvo in the "science wars"
or the takeover of the discipline by "fluff-head cultural anthropological types who think science is just another way of knowing."
Other anthropologists think this is an opportunity to broaden the discipline and embrace non-scientific forms of knowledge. [more inside]
Sabotage in the lab.
"As the problems mounted, Ames was getting agitated. She was certain that someone was monkeying with her experiments, but she had no proof and no suspect. Her close friends suggested that she was being paranoid." Scientific research collides with human nature.
The Real Science Gap:
“There is no scientist shortage,” declares Harvard economics professor Richard Freeman, a pre-eminent authority on the scientific work force. Michael Teitelbaum of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a leading demographer who is also a national authority on science training, cites the “profound irony” of crying shortage — as have many business leaders, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates — while scores of thousands of young Ph.D.s labor in the nation’s university labs as low-paid, temporary workers, ostensibly training for permanent faculty positions that will never exist.
"...the best place to hide bulls**t is in a refereed journal that’s not open-access!"
The math-physics blog n-category cafe
digs into the curious case of M.S. El Naschie.
El Naschie is editor-in-chief of the journal Chaos, Solitons, and Fractals
, published by the well-respected scientific publisher Elsevier and sold to academic libraries for US$4,520 a year. The problem? El Naschie has published 322 of his own papers in the journal -- papers that John Baez (of "This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics"
and "The Crackpot Index"
) describes as "vague, dreamlike imagery," "undisciplined numerology larded with impressive buzzwords," and "total baloney." Is El Naschie a reverse Sokal
? Or a Markov process for producing random publishable papers?
One thing's for sure -- he knows how to cure cancer.
—the former star of The Wonder Years
—has her own web site. It's got a great feature where she answers your math questions
. No, really. She's got a degree in mathematics and co-authored a paper on percolation and Ashkin-Teller models
. No, really.
Hypothesis as thought-crime
...Now, however, a new brouhaha has erupted [at Harvard]and it seems impossible that Summers [the president]will emerge from this one without serious erosion of his moral authority. The trigger was a statement he made at a conference, suggesting that the reason there are more men than women in the mathematical sciences at top-flight institutions has to do with a small statistical difference in inate ability, which becomes a pretty large disparity when one looks at the 'high end' of the respective distribution curves...
The fatal words did not set forth his main theme, but merely constituted a brief aside, thoroughly hedged and qualified. Nonetheless, they touched off a firestorm of indignation, the most striking aspect of which was the intemperate response of a number of feminist scientists, who offered no counter-arguments, but simply declared the whole idea misogynistic and therefore forbidden intellectual territory.
"In his talk... [Harvard President Larry] Summers also used as an example one of his daughters, who as a child was given two trucks in an effort at gender-neutral parenting.
Yet she treated them almost like dolls, naming one of them 'daddy truck,' and one 'baby truck.'
"It was during his comments on ability that Hopkins, sitting only 10 feet from Summers, closed her computer, put on her coat, and walked out. 'It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women [at Harvard] are being led by a man who views them this way,' she said later in an interview."
Summers then responded with the currently in vogue