Reconciling the two functions of peer review

Image: Gandalf the Gatekeeper, CC 0 via goodfreephotos.com Peer review is arguably central to what we do as scientists – to a considerable extent it’s what lets us recognize an authentic scientific enterprise.  Consider, for instance, the distinction between peer-reviewed publications and hack pieces in predatory journals; or think about how peer-reviewed grant proposals differ […]

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Please help me with the weird Latin name of a wonderful fish: Awaous banana

Image: Awaous banana, from a tributary of the Sibun River, Belize; photos © Eric Meng, with permission I’m sure you’ll agree: this (above) is an utterly enchanting fish, strange and beautiful at the same time.  It’s the river goby, a widespread fish of New World subtropical and tropical streams from Florida and Texas south to […]

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On teaching writing, and being overruled: a passive-(voice)-aggressive rant

So, I’m teaching my course in Scientific Writing, and I’m frustrated by something I didn’t see coming.  I teach students to write in the active voice (“I measured photosynthesis”, not “Photosynthesis was measured”).  That’s the modern best practice in scientific writing – not to use the active all the time, but to prefer it unless […]

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Publishing in English as an additional language (a view from outside)

Last fall, I was asked to “blurb” – to provide some pithy promotional phrases for – a new book: Corcoran, Englander, and Muresan’s “Pedagogies and Policies for Publishing Research in English: Local Initiatives Supporting International Scholars”  It’s a book about how training can be provided to support scholars who want to publish research in English, […]

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