30 September 2019

Climbing the charts

A new preprint of a forthcoming paper I collaborated on dropped in Journal of Crustacean Biology last week.

Today, it’s in the journal’s “most read” list.

Screenshot of Journal of Crustacean Biology advance articles page, with paper by DeLeon et al. highlighted in "Most read" sidebar at third position.

I have no idea how the journal calculates this list or how often it updates it. But this makes me happy. Not bad, eh?

The paper is open access, so anyone can read it. So please, help us bump off that Artemia eggs paper off the top position!


DeLeon H III, Garcia J Jr., Silva DC, Quintanilla O, Faulkes Z, Thomas JM III. Culturing embryonic cells from the parthenogenetic clonal marble crayfish Marmorkrebs Procambarus virginalis Lyko, 2017 (Decapoda: Astacidea: Cambaridae). Journal of Crustacean Biology: in press. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcbiol/ruz063

23 September 2019

Science as a process and an institution

In a response to a poll that showed Canadians’ trust is science might be weakening, Timothy Caulfield tweeted:

Trust in science falling. People seem angry at institutions. But science isn’t a person, a place, an industry, or an institution. Science is a process. Science is a way of understanding the world. If not science, what?

Caulfield is technically correct (which, as the saying goes, is the best kind of correct). Science is a process. But this is an overly abstracted view of science – a view taken from 30,000 feet, as it were.

Science, as currently practiced, is done by people, in places, as an industry, by institutions.

Science is a profession (although it is not practiced as a working profession by many people). Most people don’t get to publish scientific papers or make new discoveries.

Science is predominantly carried out in cities in some way.

Science has its own infrastructures of technical supplies and publishing and it creates a product (knowledge distributed in technical papers).

Science is associated with universities and a few businesses.

Saying, “Science is a process” ignores how concentrated the community is and how the practitioners are invisible to a very large section of society. Saying, “Science is a process” ignores that, as currently practiced, science has many characteristics of an industry or institution.

Calling science a process is like calling politics “a process.” Sure, in theory anyone can participate and is participating in politics, but in practice, most politicking is done by professional politicians and civil servants in capital cities participating in government and a few other organizations.

“Politics” as practiced can be seen as isolated and corrupt and untrustworthy because of how it it organized. Same with science.

If we want trust in science, we can’t fall back on these sorts of idealized dictionary definitions of science. We have to embrace the reality of how science is practiced in reality. And the reality is that science can feel closed and confusing and haughty for many who have minimal connections with that community.