14 October 2009

Typecasting someone with an identity crisis

I occasionally ponder what my scientific discipline is. It’s one of my Science Scout badges.

If you’re a reader of this blog, you’d probably think I’m mostly an evolutionary biologist. That’s what I write about most here.

My institution hired me as a neurobiologist, and that’s the key class I teach.

Editors seem to think I’m a carcinologist. Of the half-dozen papers I’ve been asked to review for journals in the last few years, every single one has been a crustacean paper. Despite that I have five peer-reviewed publications on non-crustaceans, I seem to be getting these taxon specific papers. They usually but not always have some behavioural or neuronal element, which does make sense, because my research is about nervous systems and behaviour.

I feel like an actor who’s been typecast. “You keep sending me these comedy parts, but I can do drama! Don’t deny the world my definitive Macbeth!” I keep getting sent crustie papers, but I’m egotistical enough to think I can review a much wider range of stuff.

Fellow scientists, do you mostly get asked to review papers that feature the organism that you study, regardless of the intellectual problem? Or am I reading too much into this?

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