Image: Trolley by McGeddon CC BY-SA 4.0 via wikimedia.org
Our scientific literature has a reputation for being not much fun to read: colourless, tedious, and turgid. By and large, it deserves that reputation (and I would include my own papers in that assessment). There are exceptions, of course, but they’re few and far between. I’ve speculated before about some of the reasons for this. But there’s a possibility I think I’ve been missing, and I’m going to use this post to think through it.
One thing I see fairly often is early-career writers struggling because they think there’s a single best way to write a given piece of text. Continue reading
Image: Three choices – out of thousands.
Warning: long post. Grab a snack.
Having lots of options is a wonderful thing – right up until you have to pick one. Have you ever been torn among the two dozen entrées on a restaurant menu? Blanched at the sight of 120 different sedans on a used-car lot? If you have, you might also wonder how on earth you’re going to choose a journal to grace with your latest manuscript. There are, quite literally, thousands of scientific journals out there – probably tens of thousands – and even within a single field there will be hundreds of options. (Scimago lists 352 journals in ecology, for example, but that list is far from comprehensive.)
What follows are some of things I think you might consider when you choose a journal. Continue reading
Image: Max atop the tallest tree. Detail from The Tallest Tree in the World. Read on.
Warning: utterly trivial.
If you’ve been hanging around Scientist Sees Squirrel, you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve written a book – The Scientist’s Guide to Writing. I’ve been telling people it was my first book (and that I’m now working on a second one), and I even wrote a humongously long post about how I had no prior experience with book-writing.
But then I made a discovery. Continue reading
Image: Composite. Book cover, The Scientist’s Guide to Writing; and Entomology 2018 logo, by Michael Blackstock for the Entomological Society of Canada and the Entomological Society of America. Find the story behind the meeting logo here.
Just a quick announcement, which will be of particular interest to readers who are considering attending Entomology 2018 (the joint annual meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada and the Entomological Society of America, in Vancouver, BC). At that meeting, I’ll be leading a workshop on scientific writing. Continue reading
Images: spider web © Kenneth Allen, CC BY-SA 2.0; ants tending aphids © Judy Gallagher CC BY 2.0
Note: This is a science outreach piece belonging to a series I wrote for the newsletter of the Fredericton Botanic Garden. I’d be happy to see it modified for use elsewhere and so am posting the text here under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license. If you use it, though, I’d appreciate hearing where and how.
A visit to any Botanic Garden surely means attention paid to plants – that’s what “Botanic” means, after all. When you visit our Fredericton Botanic Garden, for example, your attention will probably first be drawn to our flowerbeds and forests; to the primulas in the Hal Hinds Garden and the daylilies in our newly expanded Daylily Bed; to the reeds by our ponds and the ferns along our Woodland Fern Trail. All these beautiful plants are worth your time – but we hope you’ll look beyond them, too. That’s because each of our plants is also part of a larger ecological web. Continue reading
Image: Richard Spruce late in life. Frontispiece to Notes of a Botanist on the Amazon and Andes (1908), public domain.
Last week, I did a little ranting about what I consider the fetishization of entrepreneurship in our society. In the Replies, a couple of readers pushed back, pointing out ways in which entrepreneurship serves economic and societal purposes. I’m glad to have the pushback (especially because so far, nobody has gotten incoherently angry about the post). I’m even going to add a little pushback myself*. Did you know that entrepreneurship underwrote one of the most amazing botanical expeditions in history? Continue reading