Fixes to problems in science: 3 happening now, 3 unlikely to happen soon

I recently wrote about how both the incentive structures for academics and publishers can create problems for science. I posted it to twitter. I did not truly understand twitter until that day.  Visits to the post grew exponentially up to >8,000 visitors (and yes I fit the curve: R-squared= 0.97). Yikes. That's not a big deal for … Continue reading Fixes to problems in science: 3 happening now, 3 unlikely to happen soon

Goals of science vs Goals of scientists (& a love letter to PLOS One)

This monster post has been sitting on my computer hard-drive for a few months (seriously). For awhile, I was too scared to publish it. What I've written below is based on a (very) informal talk I gave at a graduate student seminar series at University of Maryland. To get the gist, the slides for that talk … Continue reading Goals of science vs Goals of scientists (& a love letter to PLOS One)

The scientific pleasures of ignorance (and other big picture stuff)

This blogpost grows out of a number of recent conversations about “science”-- what it is, how to do it, and why. Whenever my research involves truly boring, tedious things (like scoring hours of video footage), my mind starts to wander off to all kinds of  such philosophical things. Y’know, big picture stuff. (Not that big … Continue reading The scientific pleasures of ignorance (and other big picture stuff)

Sketchy science: open access is the solution, not the problem.

More and more science is becoming freely available to the public, or open access (OA). I love the movement towards OA, mainly because I like to be able to find and read papers online, even when I'm not on campus. I like being able to use the internet as my interconnected library of science articles, … Continue reading Sketchy science: open access is the solution, not the problem.

Researchers, post your work online

I just submitted an invited review of the evidence of reciprocity in vampire bat food sharing. This allowed me to get out a bunch of data from unpublished studies, most of which were negative results from groups of vampire bats that did not share food with each other. Publishing negative results is important, especially as the difficulty … Continue reading Researchers, post your work online

Richard Dawkins and good writing

A couple of posts ago, I wrote a review of E. O. Wilson's recent book on the evolution of human and insect cooperation, The Social Conquest of Earth. Someone pointed out to me recently that Richard Dawkins, one of the best science writers alive today, later wrote one himself here. Although we both wrote a negative … Continue reading Richard Dawkins and good writing