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When good nonprofits collide: the battle between Open Access and Academic Societies

Lenny TeytelmanMar 16, 2016Comments
Many academic societies do wonderful things for science, scientists, and society. They advocate, educate, support trainees, organize productive conferences, act as publishers whose goal is to improve rather than reject any given paper. As a geneticist, I have attended many of the GSA’s yeast conferences since 2003, and they were always a highlight of my academic training. The GSA was and ~  read more

Want to "Make America Great Again"? Hire immigrant scientists and let them stay.

Egle CekanaviciuteMar 13, 2016Comments
This was originally inspired by the blog post here on 1st generation immigrants who are invaluable for lab research. None of the current GOP candidates offer specific support for legal immigration, especially for highly skilled workers, and Donald Trump is particularly vocal against H1B visas. (Democrats don’t have a stellar track record either.) You know who else is on these visas? A very ~  read more

Our depressing progress on sexual harassment in academia.

Lenny TeytelmanMar 09, 2016Comments
Not at all surprising, but so terribly depressing to read that similarly to Geoff Marcy, UC Berkeley found the Law School Dean guilty of sexual harassment in an investigation, and then did essentially nothing to punish him. Reading the following made me sick. It's disturbing and upsetting that our progress on sexual harassment is essentially: 1. 20-30 years back, most investigations of people ~  read more

Hush academic, don’t speak up, Focus on your research and shut up.

Lenny TeytelmanMar 07, 2016Comments
As a first-year graduate student in 2003, I rotated in Michael Eisen’s lab right before the launch of PLOS’s first journal. An older student in the department told me, “Don’t join Mike’s lab. He doesn’t care about the science any more and is just an open access activist at this point.” This is just one of the many dismissive comments I’ve heard ~  read more

Warning against confirmation bias is missed because of confirmation bias

Lenny TeytelmanFeb 23, 2016Comments
Lior Pachter is an absolute genius. Please read his The relative impact factor of glamour journals is 2.166. Read it now, before you look through the rest of this post, because I will ruin it.  Done? Did you love it? If you loved it, is that because it confirms that the impact factor is a terrible metric? Is that because it confirms that PLOS ONE doesn't have good articles? Did you ~  read more

Invitation to ghost-write an article for RetractionWatch

Lenny TeytelmanFeb 05, 2016Comments
I am at the UC Davis Gaming Metrics: Innovation & Surveillance in Academic Misconduct. Lots of talks on fake journals, fake papers, fake metrics. The talk that rocked the audience with laughter was by Burkhard Morgenstern on the fake Editorial Board member, previously covered by Jonathan Eisen (Scary and funny: fake researcher Peter Uhnemann on OMICS group Editorial Board ~  read more

Blogging is wonderful for science. More scientists should blog and tweet.

Lenny TeytelmanFeb 02, 2016Comments
Last night, I came across an interview in Current Biology with the scientist Jingmai O’Connor. It had a rather controversial paragraph: [Question] What’s your view on social media and science? For example, the role of science blogs in critiquing published papers? [Answer] Those who can, publish. Those who can’t, blog. I understand that blogs can be useful in affording the ~  read more

The pros and cons of speaker ribbons on conference badges.

Lenny TeytelmanJan 26, 2016Comments
As a graduate student and postdoc, I don't remember a single scientific conference where attendees wore ribbons on their badges. However, over the past two years, it seems to have become the norm. I personally feel uncomfortable wearing a "speaker" ribbon. It bothers me because I think it mistakenly suggests importance. Perhaps the many years of attending conferences as a student, with posters ~  read more

Doing a disservice to Future “Heroes of CRISPR”

Gary McDowellJan 24, 2016Comments
Two weeks before leaving Harvard Medical School, I went to a symposium on the recent breakthrough discovery of CRISPR. It was 2013. Le Cong, Luhan Yang, Patrick David Hsu (graduate students working with George Church and/or Feng Zhang) and Hui Yang, a postdoc with Rudolf Jaenisch, all gave talks on their most recent work. The room was packed with graduate students and postdocs; the talks were ~  read more

Is sexual harassment less common in biology than in astronomy?

Lenny TeytelmanJan 14, 2016Comments
Recent news is full of headlines such as Congresswoman Proposes Bill to Fight Astronomy’s Sexual Harassment Problem, Astronomy’s snowballing sexual harassment scandal picks up even more cases, Astronomy’s sexual harassment problem gets Congressional attention, Astronomers Are Finally Doing Something About Sexual Harassment and countless others. Painful ~  read more

A lesson on misleading graphs from the National Review

Lenny TeytelmanDec 14, 2015Comments
Wikipedia has a long article on "misleading graphs". It's an excellent article on graph distortion, but it's long. So to help those of us with a shortage of time, National Review has produced the following graph to argue that there is no global warming. The only #climatechange chart you need to see. (h/t @powerlineUS) — National Review ~  read more

House Committee AGAINST Science, Space, and Technology?

Lenny TeytelmanNov 30, 2015Comments
I just stumbled into the twitter account of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. This is the Committee with jurisdiction over NASA, NSF, EPA, NOAA and many other agencies. I realize that the Chair is Lamar Smith, a famous climate-change denier. I know that he has been abusing the Committee to harass scientists with subpoenas. I know that AAAS and several other ~  read more

Starve, kill, heal cancer with this juice!!!!

Lenny TeytelmanNov 23, 2015Comments
Ah, the homeopathic charlatans on social media. A reliable source of amusement, such as this quack advocating kale-flaxseed-ginkgo-tea enemas, to cure most maladies. According to "Hollywood's #1 Certified Healer" @Dr_Luther_San, tea, taken anally or orally, can heal almost anything — Lenny Teytelman (@lteytelman) November 23, 2015 Except, selling products ~  read more

What academics can do to reach 100% open access

Lenny TeytelmanOct 20, 2015Comments
It is the 2015 open access week, and the progress of the OA movement over the past few decades has been remarkable. However, one important thing hasn’t happened – libraries have seen no savings from all this progress; they are continuing to pay all of the insane subscriptions for the standard journals where most of the research is still published. We need to get to the point where ~  read more

What exactly does it take to remove an academic for sexual harassment?

Michelle CollinsOct 12, 2015Comments
About midway through a long drive up North this weekend with friends, I turned to my phone for a little distraction, going through the normal cycle of checking email, Facebook and Twitter. It was in the second app that I suddenly sat bolt upright and exclaimed ‘Holy crap!’, leaning forwards to fill my two non-astronomer, non-academic friends in on the Buzzfeed article all over my ~  read more