Goodbye 2013!

Retrospective blog post time, again! 2013 was a fine year. I was lucky enough to go to Bolivia:

…and to the Everglades in Florida to see manatees and gators, and to Knoxville, Tennessee for the AAPA meetings and the Great Smokey Mountains. With a bunch of great collaborators, I coauthored a papers on RADseq in primates, protein-protein interactions, and the use of phylogenetics in primate behavior. In our lab, data collection kicked into (relatively) high gear by prepping and sequencing about a dozen “next-gen” libraries full of primates. Amazingly, they all worked!

A big change in 2013 for me outside of the lab was to restart learning Spanish using the site, italki and to begin to learn halting French using Duolingo. The Spanish certainly came in handy in Bolivia (and Florida) and I hope the French will be equally useful if I ever work in Francophone Africa.

This here blog is just over a year and a half old. A bunch of folks (almost 30,000) visited this site from all over the world this year which always makes me happy. C’mon, though, Greenland! You’re STILL a lot of grey in this map projection.

Happy 2014!

Short and Blunt

There’s a fight been going down in the annals of Evolutionary Anthropology:

1.) Primate origins, human origins, and the end of higher taxa
by Matt Cartmill

2.) Higher taxa: An alternate perspective
by Ian Tattersall

3.) The end of higher taxa: A reply to Tattersall
by Matt Cartmill

And finally:

4.) Higher taxa: Reply to Cartmill
by Ian Tattersall

Here’s a copy of the last one:

(Thanks for pointing this out, Luca!)

My CV is a Sausage Fest

My wired scientist friends have been discussing the massive bibliometric analysis by Vincent Larivière and colleagues that was published this week in Nature. The study analyzed gender disparity in academic publishing, focusing on research output, collaboration, and scientific impact by looking at all Web of Science-indexed articles published from 2008-2012:

We analysed 5,483,841 research papers and review articles with 27,329,915 authorships. […] We find that in the most productive countries, all articles with women in dominant author positions receive fewer citations than those with men in the same positions. And this citation disadvantage is accentuated by the fact that women’s publication portfolios are more domestic than their male colleagues — they profit less from the extra citations that international collaborations accrue. Given that citations now play a central part in the evaluation of researchers, this situation can only worsen gender disparities.


Well, that stinks. Post-doc Alex Bond of blog The Land and Field turns his attention to his own CV, noting that the ratio of women to men among his coauthors was 0.60 (27/45), a bit better than Canada’s average of 0.459.

Naturally I pulled up my CV and had a look. If I don’t count myself and count each coauthor once no matter how many times we’ve written a paper together, my ratio is a sad 0.2 (2/10). If I allow duplicates, because, for example my advisor and I have coauthored a few papers, the ratio worsens to 0.14 (2/14). This seems to be worse than most people sharing their ratios using the Twitter hashtag, #MyGenderGap. Therefore I should take steps to improve my ratio:

Hey, female monkey scientists! Let’s write a paper together!

(LEGO minifig photo by Flickr user Maia Weinstock.)