Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Damn the tildes and full speed ahead!

December 16, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

Reader Matt Bunkers raised the issue of the tilde (~) in scientific writing. Some use it for “proportional to”. Others use it for “order of magnitude”. Still others use it for “approximately”. Given the wide variety of uses for the tilde, why not just write out what you mean? Doing so will make your writing […]

Announcing: Publiscize

December 16, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Potpourri  

Calling All Scientists! From Dr. Robert Seigel: In my “spare” time, I have been working on an exciting project that can revolutionize our science communication. I am starting a new initiative called Publiscize (www.publiscize.com) and its purpose is to increase scientists’ research visibility, encourage cross-field collaboration, educate the public, and showcase university departments, schools, and […]

Jim Steenburgh’s “Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth”

December 16, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Potpourri  

Hi friends, If you like winter weather, skiing, or just damn good writing, check out this book by my friend and colleague Prof. Jim Steenburgh. Jim is one of just a handful of the most conscientious and careful writers that I have worked with. Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth: Weather, Climate Change, and […]

Polar Vortex, Redux

December 16, 2014   Filed under Blog, Potpourri, Uncategorized  

Lee Grenci has a lot to say about the polar vortex and its abuse in the media. https://www.e-education.psu.edu/worldofweather/node/2103

Use your middle initial. Appear smarter.

October 31, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

A coauthor on a paper and I ended up discussing whether scientists should use their middle initial on a paper. An article entitled “The impact of middle names: Middle name initials enhance evaluations of intellectual performance” in the European Journal of Social Psychology addresses this issue. The abstract reads: Middle name initials often appear in […]

How to respond to reviewers: When two reviewers say the same thing

October 31, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Reviewing, Writing  

My coauthors and I were talking about the responses to the reviewers that we were writing for a paper that was in peer review. Because two of the reviewers raised issues about the same item, my coauthor wrote a thoughtful response to Reviewer #1, then, in response to Reviewer #2, said basically, “See our response […]

“Conclusions and Discussion”? What should you call the last section of your paper?

October 2, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

Astute reader Colin Smith fired the following question my way: I find that many authors call their closing section “Conclusions and discussion”, rather than ‘Discussion and conclusions”. I prefer the latter because, to me, it is logical to first discuss your results in a wider context, and then draw conclusions. However, I also understand why […]

David Byrne: Inspiration for Good Science Writing

August 15, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Potpourri, Writing  

About a month ago, I had finished reading How Music Works by David Byrne (formerly of Talking Heads). I was always a big fan of the music of Talking Heads and Byrne, and I found his movie True Stories quirky. I am a huge musicophile, as well, and when I saw the book on the […]

BEST Journals demonstrate what it takes to be the best.

August 7, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Publishing  

I wish I could say this was a joke, but it’s part of a real email from BEST Journals to me, asking me to submit my papers to them within the next four days. Gotcha. I wasn’t doing anything anyway. ————————- From: BEST Journals Subject: Calling for Origianl Papers Aug Edition Date: August 7, 2014 […]

The impact factor as a useful metric is becoming less useful.

August 5, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Publishing  

With the release of the 2013 impact factors recently, I was reminded about a fascinating piece over at the London School of Economics and Political Science Impact Blog from a few years ago. The article argues that the relationship between impact factor and the citations by journal has been declining since 2012. The authors argue […]

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