Proximity sensors, preprints, and grants

Simon Ripperger will be joining our team this summer in Panama. Simon recently published the first paper on his new method for sampling dynamic social networks of whole groups of bats in the field. The paper in Biology Letters is entitled “Proximity sensors on common noctule bats reveal evidence that mothers guide juveniles to roosts but not food and it was featured in the “research highlights” section of Nature.

Cooperation in vampire bats was also recently featured in this UK magazine called Bat News:

I posted a preprint for a manuscript, currently in review, called Development of new food-sharing relationships among nonkin vampire bats and The Journal Coverage Podcast interviewed me for a podcast episode about it. We also talk a tiny bit about preprints and why they are great. Here’s a short video about preprints by organization ASAPbio:

Finally, as I am writing my first big NSF grant, I came across this interesting analysis. This quote sums it up:

We find that the effort researchers waste in writing proposals may be comparable to the total scientific value of the research that the funding supports…

Although I would add to this idea that writing proposals is not always a wasted effort because it is also an intellectually creative, worthwhile, and fun thing to do on its own. The basic problem is that so many good ideas are not funded and are therefore never made public. Maybe we should publish proposals: “This is what I would do in my lab with a million dollars.” Then if someone else “steals” your research project idea, they could cite your proposal to say “this is where I got this idea” or the author of the proposal would be an author on the paper that actually carried it out. This could encourage more sharing of ideas and data?

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