Monthly Archives: December 2010
We’ve had a bit of discussion here at JE about potential solutions to the tragedy of the reviewer commons, so I found a recent letter in Nature (warning – it’s behind a pay wall) suggesting that there may not actually be a problem interesting. The take home message is:
At the journal Molecular Ecology, we find little evidence for the common belief that the peer-review system is overburdened by the rising tide of submissions.
and the authors base this conclusion on some basic statistics about the number of review requests required to obtain a reviewer and the average number of authors and reviewers for each paper. It’s not exactly the kind of hard, convincing data that will formally answer the question of whether there is a problem, but it’s interesting to hear that at least one journal’s editorial group isn’t particularly concerned about this supposedly impending disaster.
I just restumbled over the Daily Routines blog. The blog is about “how writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days” and is basically just excerpts from interviews with famous creative folks. The blog appears to be “on hold” pending an upcoming book, but I definitely recommend pulling it up some lazy afternoon and working your way through how some of the most creative people around structure their days.
…in the last 10 years ecology, specifically macroecology, has produced not one, but at least half a dozen different unified theories of biodiversity. These theories broadly unify ideas of area, abundance and richness to produce from a few underlying principles such seemingly distinct patterns as the species–area curve and the species abundance distribution. With one exception (neutral theory), these unified theories have arrived with relatively little fanfare. Unlike physics, unification has not been heralded as one of the highest achievements in ecology. No doubt this is in part due to certain sociological tendencies in ecology which fail to appreciate theory in general and especially theory that greatly simplifies the natural world (Kingsland 1995; Simberloff 2004).
- Brian McGill (in McGill 2010 published in Ecology Letters)
Earlier this year we featured this great paper by Brian McGill in our first Things you should read post. I was rereading it for a graduate seminar tomorrow and couldn’t help but post this great, beautifully dry, quote.