- Researchers interested in an academic career, beware! Apparently, in recent years, it's become popular for universities to evaluate prospective hires based on their "h-index," which reflects both the number of publications and the number of citations per publication. However, a recent study has shown that current mathematical models that predict a scientist's future performance based on their past performance aren't reliable and shouldn't be used in career advancement decision processes. [url]
- Getting depressed because you can't get funding? Don't Despair... A study has found that grant size doesn't strongly predict a researcher's scientific impact. [url]
- Traditional metrics used to gauge a researcher's scientific impact are inadequate, since they typically assume that all co-authors of a paper contribute equally to the work. Now researchers are proposing a new metric that takes into account the relative contributions of all co-authors to establish a more rational way of determining a researcher's scientific impact. [url]
- This takes the cake: A new study has found that scientists are terrible at judging the importance of other researchers' publications. Apparently, scientists rarely agree on the importance of a paper and are strongly biased by what journal the paper is published in. Also, the number of times a paper is cited has little relation to its actual scientific merit. [url]
by Joyce Hung
Mon, Nov 11th 2013 5:00pm
by Joyce Hung
Tue, Mar 19th 2013 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Sad fact: Funding for basic science research makes up less than 1% of the federal budget. Even sadder is that cutting the small amount the government spends on basic science will have little impact on short-term fiscal goals, but its negative effects on the economy will be felt for decades to come, potentially costing the U.S. billions of dollars in missed future opportunities. [url]
- Lasers are an example of how a discovery in basic science can eventually lead to a revolutionary invention. The first laser was built in the 1950s, but practical applications for lasers didn't appear until decades later. Today, lasers are a multi-billion dollar industry and are key to many technologies used in manufacturing, communications, medicine, entertainment, and scientific research. [url]
- Cutting funding for basic science research will impact young investigators the most. Actually, brand new tenure-track professors are somewhat insulated because there's always some money set aside for them. It's the just tenured professors that will feel it the most, as they try to compete for grants against the entire population, which includes Nobel laureates, National Academicians, and more well-established researchers. [url]
by Michael Ho
Mon, Aug 6th 2012 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Associate professors are unhappy (significantly less satisfied than assistant or full professors)... with the monotony of writing research grants, publishing and teaching. Maybe it's a mid-life crisis, or just the realization that there's not much appreciation for teachers in general. #firstworldproblems? [url]
- The problems with academia are nothing new -- graduate education has been called the "Detroit of higher learning" for a while now. Full-time professors probably shouldn't complain too much around grad students and adjunct professors, though. [url]
- Tenured CS prof Terran Lane explains why he resigned from his position to go work at Google. "We're being paid partly in cool. If you take away the cool parts of the job, you might as well go make more money elsewhere." [url]
from the good-for-him dept
Michel added the articles he’d achieved Good Article status for under the research section, including two that were going through the review process, and added articles that had appeared in the Did You Know section of the main page on medieval and literary topics, as well as topics about Montgomery, Alabama, the town in which his university is located.It certainly would be nice if the overly broad anti-Wikipedia bias in academia was starting to fade... Of course, it's important to point out that it wasn't just Wikipedia edits on his application, but either way, it appears that his colleagues are gaining increasing respect for work done on Wikipedia in addition to traditional journals.
"It took a bit of shuffling and organizing, but in the end I had a meaty section on Wikipedia and my work there under research, based on the claim that Did You Knows, Good Articles, and Featured Articles are all scrutinized more or less during a peer-review process," Michel says. "I had supporting materials in the forms of articles I had written in both research and service. In the end, I suggested (based on the advice of three of my colleagues) that Wikipedia articles were no worse than for instance those published by the GALE databases–it is worthwhile adding that we had just hired a new chair partly on the basis of such bibliographic articles."
Michel's tenured colleagues approved him unanimously, and the campus-wide committee awarded him tenure last month, marking perhaps the first time that a professor has received tenure in part due to his Wikipedia contributions.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 22nd 2010 8:25am
from the from-doonesbury-to-xkcd dept
Trudeau recently made some similar comments in a Slate interview, where he again appeared to be dissing the whole webcomics space:
Slate: Where is the comic strip headed in the post-daily-print-newspaper age? Is the medium healthy?Again, in general, our response is similar to what it was last time around. Thinking that there's no future in a space where we're already seeing creative individuals carve out quite impressive models seems pretty silly.
There's not much future in being a strip artist now. That's quite a turnaround in fortunes, because presiding over an established syndicated comic strip used to be the closest thing to tenure that popular culture offered. If I were starting out now, I'd probably continue on the graphic design trajectory I was on before I got sidetracked with comics. Colbert-like TV would be OK, too, except you have to be brilliant. I advise young cartoonists now to get into graphic novels--or head for Pixar.
However, there was a fascinating deconstruction of Trudeau's comments on the PVPonline blog, suggesting that Trudeau is correct... in talking about the lack of a future for those who want a career like the traditional syndicated comic strip artist. The folks who have lived off of that model for years probably don't have much of a future, because they're so used to making money in one way, that they're not quite prepared to make the jump -- even if there is plenty of money to be made.
Furthermore, the post picks up on that line about tenure, and how that's really the key here:
Boy, isn't that the truth? And isn't that the real reason that syndicates are getting less and less for their features every year? Because presiding over an established syndicated comic strip is tenure for both the creator and their syndicate partner. Just put it on auto-pilot until the artist dies, then get a new artist and put the auto-pilot back on.I think there's actually a much larger point here that applies to much of what we write here at Techdirt. So many of the legacy business models that we talk about really are a kind of "tenure." They're on autopilot. The major record labels know how to sell CDs. Give them a certain type of artist, and they can sell a huge number of units. It's autopilot. But that kind of "tenure" and "autopilot" is going away (or perhaps is already gone).
In this interview, Garry discusses his friends Gary Larsen and Bill Watterson, both who felt the time had come to retire from cartooning. And having read interviews with both of those cartoonists, they seem like creators very uncomfortable with the idea of "tenure." But again, how feasible is it for a cartoonist with 20 plus years under his belt to re-invent what they do or start from scratch?
I do a lot of soul searching about what I do for a living. I think about it a lot. The last thing I want to do is take it for granted. And as I reflect on my one measly decade of cartooning, I see an obvious pattern. It's during the times I was most comfortable that things started falling apart. And it was during the moments of struggle, upheaval, change and dissatisfaction with my work that I turned the most important corners.
To be successful today there is no autopilot. There is no magic bullet. It involves constant innovating and refinement -- and that's quite difficult to deal with for those who have had "tenure" for years. The idea behind tenure at universities is that it encourages professors to feel free to research what they want, free of pressure from the university. And that works for some. But, for many, it also means the opposite: with tenure, you can just keep going, without working on anything special or worrying about doing anything big. And that's what we've seen in all sorts of legacy industries that effectively stagnated, due to the easy money of a "tenured" sort of position. But the new digital world is one where there aren't any tenured business models. This doesn't mean you can't make money (or even lots of money -- you can). But it involves constantly evolving, experimenting and innovating. And many of us think that's a good thing.