Last and This Week’s Good Reads: Shaming Journalists, Hyping Research, and Preparing Ecologists for Grad School

Only a few from last week, but they’re too good not to mention:

1) I’m so glad someone collected the evidence to show that most ecology grad students feel ill-prepared in mathematics and statistics for their graduate studies. We can do better. Lack of Quantitative Training Among Early-Career Ecologists: A Survey of the Problem and Potential Solutions, PeerJ, Frédéric Barraquand et al.

2) Inspiring–Biology Professor’s Calling: Teach Deaf Students They Can Do Anything, NPR, Claudio Sanchez

3) Kirk Englehardt writes about why universities put their reputations on the line by hyping research in press releases. It’s all about incentives and having informed people at the top. Essentially Englehardt says collecting numbers on how many “eyeballs” you get is easy, low-hanging fruit, but it’s meaningless if the emphasis is always on getting the most eyes, if in the long-term your brand and reputation are hurt. University Communication & Trust in Science: A Peek Behind the Curtain, SciLogs, Kirk Englehardt

4) Science Still Seen as a Male Profession, According to International Study of Gender Bias, Science, Rachel Bernstein

5) US Lawmakers Advance Controversial Science Bill, Nature, Boer Deng

This week’s good reads:

1) On the science communication gossip train this week: John Bohannon wrote a piece called “I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How.” The piece largely calls out journalists and reporters for being “lazy” about science. What I found so odd is that he hypes his own study that calls out reporters for believing hyped studies. How meta. The thing is very few media, in the grand scheme of things, picked up his intentionally poor science study. I highly recommend Rachel Ehrenberg’s response to it in Science News: Attempt to Shame Journalists with Chocolate Study Is Shameful. Although science does need to be better reported in the media, this finger-pointing piece hardly gets to the real systemic issue.

2) Reduced Public Funding for Basic Research Leaves U.S. in the Scientific Dust, Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzig

3) Ice Scientists of the Future Will Study Glaciers That No Longer Exist, Smithsonian, Shannon Palus

4) Catastrophic Collapse of Saiga Antelopes in Central Asia, press release.

5) Nominations open for British Ecological Society’s Book of the Year Award. Info here.


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