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When Teamwork Doesn’t Work for Women

Economics remains a stubbornly male-dominated profession, a fact that members of the profession have struggled to understand. After all, if the marketplace of ideas is meant to ensure that the best ideas thrive, then this imbalance should arise only if men have better ideas than women. That implication infuriates many female economists. Now new evidence suggests that the underrepresentation of women reflects a systemic bias in that marketplace: a failure…

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Academic Publishing Can’t Remain Such a Great Business

Publishers of academic journals have a great thing going. They generally don’t pay for the articles they publish, or for the primary editing and peer reviewing essential to preparing them for publication (they do fork over some money for copy editing). Most of this gratis labor is performed by employees of academic institutions. Those institutions, along with government agencies and foundations, also fund all the research that these journal articles…

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Do History of Science programs need more science?

The history of science has never had the easiest stories to tell. A field suspended between the two cultures, it’s been contested territory for as long as it has existed: rife with clattering jargon, methodological skirmishes, and ideological warfare. Although it entered academe as science’s explanatory sidekick, over the past few decades the history of science has emerged a full-fledged discipline, drawing practitioners mostly from the humanities. But this independence,…

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2012 Faculty Workload Survey released

The Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP; Phase V) is a cooperative initiative among 10 federal agencies and 119 institutional recipients of federal funds, sponsored by the National Academies, with a purpose of reducing administrative burdens associated with federal research grants and contracts. In early 2012, the FDP conducted a survey of principal investigators (PIs) of federally-funded projects to determine the impact of federal regulations and requirements on the research process. This…

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Academic Tribalism

When I was a younger scholar, a very famous cognitive psychologist came to my office to visit me during his colloquium trip to my university. I mentioned with pride that I had just written a new textbook in cognitive psychology. His quick response was, “Bob, you’re not a cognitive psychologist anymore.” I was deeply hurt. I had been trained in cognitive psychology by some of the top scholars in the…

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Kristof’s good start

Kudos to Nicholas Kristof for highlighting an important issue in science much more effectively (or at least visibly) than we’ve been able to do so far. Kristof’s February 15th piece in the New York Times (“Professors, We Need You!”) opined about how academia has increasingly insulated itself from the rest of the world by virtue of (in at least some cases) obtuse research written in turgid prose hidden in obscure…

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Professors, We Need You!

SOME of the smartest thinkers on problems at home and around the world are university professors, but most of them just don’t matter in today’s great debates. The most stinging dismissal of a point is to say: “That’s academic.” In other words, to be a scholar is, often, to be irrelevant. One reason is the anti-intellectualism in American life, the kind that led Rick Santorum to scold President Obama as…

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Misconduct Widespread in Retracted Science Papers, Study Finds

Source: NY Times Last year the journal Nature reported an alarming increase in the number of retractions of scientific papers — a tenfold rise in the previous decade, to more than 300 a year across the scientific literature. Other studies have suggested that most of these retractions resulted from honest errors. But a deeper analysis of retractions, being published this week, challenges that comforting assumption. Click here to read more…

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