Monday, May 16, 2011

Links ...

  1. Over at Babbage, the S&T blog at The Economist: Physics Anniversaries: How Professor Maxwell Changed the World:

    [Maxwell] showed that nature ought not to be taken at face value, and that she can be cajoled into revealing her hidden charms so long as the entreaties are whispered in mathematical verse.

  2. Jennifer Rohn in Nature: Give Post-Docs a Career, Not Empty Promises [via e-mail from Pradeepkumar.]

    The scientific enterprise is run on what economists call the 'tournament' model, with practitioners pitted against one another in bitter pursuit of a very rare prize. Given that cheap and disposable trainees — PhD students and postdocs — fuel the entire scientific research enterprise, it is not surprising that few inside the system seem interested in change. A system complicit in this sort of exploitation is at best indifferent and at worst cruel. I have no doubt that most lab heads want the best for their many apprentices, but at the system level, the practice continues.

  3. Jef Akst in The Scientist: I Hate Your Paper -- "Many say the peer review system is broken. Here’s how some journals are trying to fix it." [Via e-mail from Prof. Subbiah Arunachalam.]

    Problem #1
    Reviewers are biased by personal motives

    Solution: Eliminate anonymous peer review ( Biology Direct, BMJ, BMC); run open peer review alongside traditional review (Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics); judge a paper based only on scientific soundness, not impact or scope (PLoS ONE).