New ideas

Models of journal management

I was wondering how important the communication and management between editors for a journal might be in ensuring effective and fair dissemination. I imagine that most are top down with the Editor in Chief(s) managing the bulk of the decisions. However, I suspect that...

Steve Jobs on the value of fundamental research

For what it's worth (which may be a lot, or next to nothing, depending on your point of view), Steve Jobs agreed with me on the value of fundamental research. The passage below is from his 2005 commencement address to Stanford University. It's quite well-put, so I...

Cover letter power and job interviews

I flip flop on the relative importance of cover letters for my submissions. Sometimes they write themselves, other times it is a struggle. I have not been cognizant enough to see if there is a relationship between those that I struggle with letters on and rejection...

The importance of society journals, affordable open access, and fast turnaround times.

The Research Works Act and the discussion of the profit margins by academic publishers have stimulated both a wealth of discussion and some clear indications of future directions. I wanted to take a moment here to reflect on how this might relate to Oikos. Several...

Why do fundamental research in a world with pressing applied problems? (UPDATED)

I do fundamental research. I don't choose what questions to address, what system to work in, or any other aspect of my research based on consideration of 'societal needs'. I'm not trying to achieve any policy goals, except those of 'doing good science' and 'training...

Ecologist interview: Colin Kremer

Sarcozona's last (?) ESA interview is up. She chats with Colin Kremer , a grad student in the Klausmeier-Litchman lab at Michigan State. It's an audiofile, and well worth a listen. It's wide-ranging, touching on everything from why the ESA meeting is awesome (which it...

Why do experiments? (UPDATEDx2)

As a complement to the previous post on "why do mathematical modeling", I thought it would be fun to compile a list of all the reasons why one might conduct an experiment. But I am lazy* (though not as lazy as this man ), and so rather than compiling my own list I'll...

Why do mathematical modeling?

Over at Just Simple Enough, Amy Hurford compiles an interesting (and comprehensive?) list of all the reasons why one might do mathematical modeling. Too many people think the only reason for scientists to do modeling is "to make predictions"; this list is a useful...

From the archives: Are there inherently complex ecological phenomena?

Another favorite from the archives , in which I explain why community assembly is like a chess endgame--and why sometimes neither can be comprehended by human beings.

"Blind tastings" for scientific papers?

Revisiting my old humorous post on why my papers are like fine wine got me thinking about wine tastings. Wine tastings are often done blind so that the tasters aren't biased by knowing what they're drinking. As psychologists have shown time and again, if people think...

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