Academia   37178

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"When the referees have a problem, there's a problem"
in the context of academic peer review but it's applicable to anyone writing documentation, reports or anything designed to convey ideas
academia  2masto  writing 
yesterday by mikelynch
Academic Activists Send a Published Paper Down the Memory Hole - Quillette
Educators must practice what we preach and lead by example. In this way, we can help to foster intellectual curiosity and the discovery of fresh reasoning so compelling that it causes even the most sceptical to change their minds. But this necessarily requires us to reject censorship and open ourselves to the civil discussion of sensitive topics such as gender differences, and the variability hypothesis in particular.
academia  feminism  gender  science 
yesterday by soobrosa
Practical Peer Review
The second truth is perhaps even more depressing. Even making all allowances for this, your referees have (probably) read your manuscript with more attention, care, sympathy and general clue that most other readers will muster. In the first place: most papers which get published receive almost no attention post-publication; hardly anyone cites them because hardly anyone reads them. In the second place: if one of your papers somehow does become popular, it will begin to be cited for a crude general idea of what it is about, with little reference to what it actually says.

...

None of this should be surprising. One of my favorite books is one of the very few thoroughly empirical contributions to literary criticism, I. A. Richard's <a href="https://archive.org/details/practicalcritici030142mbp">Practical Criticism</a>. In an experiment lasting over several years in the 1920s, Richards took a few dozen poems, typed up in a uniform format and with identifying information removed, and presented them to literature students at Cambridge University, collecting their "protocols" of reaction to the poems. It is really striking just how bad the students were at receiving even the literal text of the poems, never mind providing any sort of sensible interpretation or reaction. And these were, specifically, students of literature at one of the premier institutions of higher learning in the world. As Richards said (p. 310), anyone who thinks their alma mater could do better is invited to try it **. Poems are not, of course, scientific papers, and I don't know of anyone who's done a translation of Richards's protocols to academic peer review. But I know of no reason to think highly-educated people are systematically much better at reading papers than poems.

The moral I would draw from this is not to seek a world without referees. It is this: whatever your referees find difficult, confusing or objectionable, no matter how wrong they might be on the merits, will give many of your other readers at least as much trouble. Since science is not about intellectual self-gratification but the advancement of public knowledge, this means that we have to take deep breaths, count backwards from twenty and/or swear, and patiently attend to whatever the referees complain about. If they say you're unclear, you were, by that very token, unclear. If they say you're wrong, you have to patiently, politely, figure out why they think that, and re-express yourself in a way which they will understand. Anger or sarcasm, however momentarily gratifying (and wow are they momentarily gratifying) will not actually change anyone's mind, and so they do not actually serve your long-term goal of persuading your readers of your conclusions.

"When the referees have a problem, there's a problem" is, quite literally, one of the most ego-destroying lessons of a life in science, but I am afraid it is a lesson, and the sooner it's absorbed the better.
peer_review  academia  criticism 
yesterday by jfbeatty
Colleges Have Way Too Many Liberal Professors - Bloomberg
The gap is narrower in science and engineering. In physics, economics and mathematics, the ratio is about 6 to 1. In chemistry, it is 5 to 1, and in engineering, it is just 1.6 to 1. Still, Lambert found no field in which Republicans are more numerous than Democrats.
Democrats  Republicans  Academia  Sunstein 
3 days ago by HispanicPundit
Transformative Works and Cultures releases No. 28
TWC's 10th anniversary issue, No. 28, The Future of Fandom, is now here! Read about Cursed Child, cosplay, Dark Souls, Johnlock, Pokemon, Rogue One, Undertale, Donnie Yen and book reviews, such as for a fanfiction reader whose royalties support us at the OTW
Transformative-Works-and-Cultures  Academia  Fandoms 
5 days ago by otw_news

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