Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Neurobiology Assistant Professorship

The University of Oklahoma seeks an outstanding researcher in neurobiology for appointment at the level of tenure-track Assistant Professor beginning in fall 2012. The successful candidate will join an interactive group of researchers with strengths in neurobiology and behavior. This individual will also play an integral role in an active interdepartmental Cellular & Behavioral Neurobiology Graduate Program. The successful applicant will have a Ph.D. degree and a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research as evidenced by publications. This individual will be expected to establish an externally funded research program, provide excellent training for graduate students and postdocs, and contribute to undergraduate and graduate teaching in the department.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, complete curriculum vitae, research and teaching statements, and selected reprints/preprints as PDF files to Chair, Neurobiologist Search Committee, at Applicants should also arrange to have three signed letters of reference sent to or Department of Zoology, 730 Van Vleet Oval, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA. Visit us at Screening of candidates will begin 15 December 2011 and will continue until the position is filled.

The University of Oklahoma is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and encourages diversity in the workplace.

Perishing from Publishing? Let this guide help!

We all know that publishing our best work is key to building a scholarly repuation and in turn, a compelling and successful tenure package. But as junior faculty/grad students/etc. it isn't always clear how to build a publishing strategy. Did you even know you needed a "strategy"? You do. Yikes, right?

Tom Boellstorff, current Editor-in-Chief of the American Anthropologist has recently published a really excellent essay on the subject of building your early career publishing strategy. He focuses on the choice of venue for your work and the peer-review process. His concept of the "Journal Triangle" is new to me but makes a lot of sense: publish in general journals (e.g. American Anthropologist, Current Anthropology), area journals (e.g. geographic area, species-centric journal such as Am J Primatology), and specialist journals (e.g. Placenta, Neuroscience, Bone Biology, etc.). Entirely without planning (alas, I did not have a strategy. Boellstorff, where were you??), I've done this and I'm pleased now to learn of the collateral benefits of doing so.

I have broken some rules here, mainly his edict to refrain from or strictly limit publishing in edited volumes as an untenured professor and I can attest to the wisdom of his advice. I have two chapters in print, one in press, and one in prep. I was blushingly gratified to have been invited to participate as a graduate student in one of the volumes and unwisely prepared some dissertation data for publication. The book took over 5 years  to come out and I couldn't publish those data as a journal article. That was dumb. (Note: the book itself is awesome and I'm very proud of my chapter!) That's why I now advise untenured folks looking to build up their pub list to reserve their original data for publication in journals. You can then later refer to it in a chapter, or even reprint the article in its entirety in a book. But if it's in the book first, it's done for.

The second chapter already in print wasn't too big a deal as I was third author in terms of effort. Sometimes you'll be invited to participate as an author because the other authors are leaning heavily on your work to build a section. If you're invited to do this, make it clear to the other authors what your availability to participate really will be. Be very protective of your effort on these kinds of co-authored projects. It's easy to say Yes! and Sure! I'll throw together a table! and No problem! I'll be happy to track down permission to use that figure! but it can be a real pain in the neck to follow through. Be sure you can really do it so as to protect not only your time but your reputation as a responsible collaborator.

Another tip: Don't underestimate the time a book chapter will take to write, even one that's based on previous work.  If you take even a modicum of pride in your work, it will take a lot longer than you expect and if the book is to be peer-reviewed, you might be surprised to find the review process even more exacting than that of a journal. And know going into it that the schedule will deviate from the best intentions. It just will. The slow turnaround is yet another excellent reason to publish your original data in a journal article.

Boellstorff's one easing of the no-edited-volume edict is being the editor yourself. Testify! I'm doing this now and I am lucky enough to have two smashing lady co-editors in Katie Hinde and Kate Clancy but it is a lot of work and has absorbed effort away from some other projects maybe I "should" be doing. That said, it's worth it because I deeply believe in the project, its potential impact on the field, and its timeliness (i.e. "This topic is so timely the book needs to happen NOW!"). AND I am concurrently working on journal articles and grant proposals. You can't just rest on the edited volume - whether it's just a chapter or the whole damn thing - for tenure (for most departments/schools that emphasize research over teaching, or articles over books. Your miles may vary so get smart about your local tenure culture.) So if you're going to do it, it needs to be for more than just vanity. You need to think about impact on the field, the timeliness of the topic, the quality of the contributors, and the potential pros/cons for your own scholarly reputation. Co-editing is a great idea IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT EDITORIAL TEAM.

Good luck to you all as you craft your strategy! Please share your tips and questions in the comment section.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Recording of Science in Anthropology discussion online NOW!

Following up on my call to action, I'm very happy to report that we were able to secure permission from all AAA Science in Anthropology panel participants to record the session, and that we were able to plug directly into the sound system so the recording is very crisp and clean. I've been told that it will be added to the AAA webpage of the recorded sessions; however, that won't be ready until after the holidays. AAA is planning to feature it on their blog and website this week via the iTunes link once that is up so that it won't be delayed. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. Once the podcast is up, please listen, possibly as part of your seminars and lab or  faculty meetings and comment on the BANDIT blog, the AAA blogFacebook, and Twitter to keep the discussion going!

In the meantime, Michigan graduate student Caroline VanSickle wrote a great summary of the discussion as told by twitter.

ETA on November 27, 2011: The podcast has been posted on AAA's blog. Check it out and please share & discuss.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Science in Anthropology at AAA: an "open" discussion?

The Society for Anthropological Sciences proposed a session to discuss Science in Anthropology in the wake of what became known as #aaafail: the omission of the word "science" from the Long Range Plan. There will be a roundtable of various folks, various perspectives, including members of the Executive Board. Awesome! Well, sort of. The session is scheduled for the morning of Thursday, November 17. Which happens to conflict with not one but two sessions of the Biological Anthropology Section, three sessions of the Archaeological Division,  and one session of the Evolutionary Anthropology Society. These are some of the most affected and vocal stakeholders in the discussion, but those voices won't be able to participate in this discussion. Indeed, one of the speakers is Dr. Alice Dreger, who wrote what could be considered the opening salvo in the #aaafail reporting. It was entertaining and clever, and it was also one of the most polarizing perspectives. Importantly, Dr. Dreger isn't an anthropologist. She's a historian/philosopher of science. That's great and interesting and relevent to an extent, but why go outside the discipline to have a discussion about science IN anthropology? Where are the anthro bloggers who contributed so much passion to the issue? Well, I would be there but I'm presenting a paper in one of the BAS sessions so I'm out.

In the wake of all that's happened in the last year (#aaafail, Florida governor Rick Scott), and the EB's embracing of the Science discussion (President Dominguez is a discussant) it is disappointing that there was no outreach to all of the scientifically-rooted AAA sections to consider how this would affect opposing sessions. There is concern that the discussion will draw away the audience for the BAS sessions, which are already competing directly against each other.

To be clear, this is not an oversight by the Biological Anthropology Section. Since the session did not originate with BAS it had no jurisdiction over scheduling nor did it even know about the session until the schedule was made. I really do understand that scheduling a meeting of this scale is a gargantuan task and some double-bookings are unavoidable. We just need to get each other's back a little more. In recent weeks, the AAA has done an admirable job of claiming science and scientists as part of anthropology. I want us to grow that inclusivity! That's something I hope to explore at this meeting as a 2011 AAA Leadership Fellow. I'll be meeting with members of the EB to learn about AAA governance and I'll be asking questions about what we can do to navigate and ultimately break down these disciplinary partitions.

But I'm not just kvetching, as fun as that is. I want us all to be able to at least hear the discussion even if we can't be there. To that end, I requested that AAA record the discussion to produce as a podcast but there is no recording equipment available at that time. So, BANDITs, are you going to be in Montreal? Do you have some kind of recording device? Are you willing to attend and record the session and send the files to AAA so they can produce a podcast? Please let me know tout de suite, d'accord?