Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I've seen a few things of interest in the news lately, but I've still been unable to add links here on my home internet connection. Here are a few:

Doctors want to change clocks.

BMA maintains support for opt-out organ donation.

MPs to pay more for pensions.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon - but, in the meantime, marking is just over and now conference season begins...

Friday, June 03, 2011

Career Reflections

In the opening of Plato's Republic, Socrates remarks that he enjoys conversing with older companions - such as Cephalus - because they have wisdom about the life ahead of him. Perhaps the modern world is such that my impending 30s will be very different from those of my much older colleagues, but it's still helpful I think to look to those not so far ahead of me in charting where I want to go and how I'm going to get there.

Colin Farrelly reflects here on his journey to becoming full professor. Not so much explicit advice, but interesting reading for those of us following in his footsteps. Not much over a year ago, I didn't know I'd be in Stirling now. I wonder where I'll be in ten years' time...

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Roundtable of Journal Editors

This discussion of how journals work in Theoria is quite interesting, especially I assume for those without much insight. I'm somewhat surprised how difficult it seems to be to find referees, though perhaps this explains why I've sometimes been asked to review some stuff that hardly falls in my area of expertise (narrowly defined). As suggested, it's doubtless because of increasing pressures to publish, and a significant influx of submissions from graduate students.

I'm not sure about the suggestion that quality should outweigh quantity in assessing scholars by their publications though. It seems to me that, other things equal, someone producing more good scholarship ought to be preferred to someone producing less scholarship of an equal - or maybe even slightly higher - standard. (This is all the more true, I think, given that quality is difficult to measure - though I'm unsure whether quantity should be measured in articles or words.) Of course, we should factor in considerations about people's circumstances: a post-doc gets more research time than a lecturer and thus ought to produce either more or better publications.

It's also interesting to get insight as to how Ethics works from Henry Richardson. Apparently they now receive around 400 manuscripts a year and only a quarter even make it to review. Hence I was pretty pleased with my paper!