Archive for February, 2012

Disappearance of blogs

February 26, 2012

I do not have the time to read regularly all the blogs to which I have established links, on my own blog. As a result, sometimes months go by without me reading them, and when I finally decide to catch up, I find out that they no longer exist, or that they have not been updated in months — and probably never will be again.
At that point I remove the link, of course.
I have just finished the above operation, and see that my link list is almost half as long now. There have apparently been many casualties among fellow bloggers, over the past twelve months. And yes, my own blogging has become more difficult and slower, over the same time frame. And I do think that the two things are related.


Letter from the trenches

February 20, 2012

I have received a letter from a student who obtained their doctoral degree with me a few years ago, and after one postdoctoral appointment decided that their heart was really into teaching.
They wrote me to let me know how things are going, and gave me permission of posting their letter here (I am withholding the person’s name). It may be of interest for those who might be considering switching from research to a teaching career. Currently, only a tiny fraction of doctoral degree holders take that path.


Whither scientific publishing ?

February 13, 2012

I come back to one of my favorite subjects, prompted by a recent comment asking for my opinion on the proposed boycott of Elsevier, a company publishing a number of scientific journals. In the eyes of many, some of Elsevier’s practices are incompatible with the ultimate goal of achieving the widest dissemination of scientific information and progress — a goal that many a scientist hold so vital that even in a market economy, no acceptable business model for scientific publishing should sacrifice it to the altar of profit.