Archive for April, 2013

I believe that it is worth finding the time to read this article. There are many things to be discussed about the nature of the academic system and the nature of human ambition and limits.

Αξίζει τον κόπο να βρούμε λίγα λεπτά να διαβάσουμε το άρθρο αυτό. Είναι πολλά πράγματα που πρέπει να συζητηθούν σχετικά με το ακαδημαϊκό σύστημα και τη φύση της ανθρώπινης φιλοδοξίας.


Could not agree more…

Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

Is there any justification for any of these practices other than tradition?

  • Choosing titles that deliberately omit new taxon names.
  • Slicing the manuscript to fit an arbitrary length limit.
  • Squeezing the narrative into a fixed set of sections (Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusion).
  • Discarding or combining illustrations to avoid exceding an arbitrary count.
  • Flattening illustrations to monochrome.
  • Using passive instead of active voice (especially in singular: “we did this” may be acceptable but not “I did this” for some reason).
  • Giving the taxonomic authority after first use of each formal name.
  • Listing institutional abbreviations at end of the Introduction section, several pages into the paper.
  • Using initials for names in the acknowledgements.
  • Refusing to cite in-prep papers, dissertations and blogs (while accepting pers. comm.)
  • Using numbered citations instead of Author+Date.
  • Using journal abbreviations such as “J. Vertebr. Paleontol.” in the references.
  • Formatting references
  • Having references at all, rather…

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A very nice post explaining the evolution (and the dead end) of modern scientific publishing.

Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

I mentioned earlier that I was in Oxford yesterday — mostly to participate in the debate at the Oxford Union, “Evolution or Revolution in Science Communication?” I was on the revolution side, with Jason Hoyt (PeerJ), Amelia Andersdotter (Swedish Pirate Party MEP) and Paul Wicks (Patientslikeme). The “evolution” side was represented by David Tempest (Elsevier), Graham Taylor (ex Publishers’ Association), Jason Wilde (Nature) and — rather surprisingly — Cameron Neylon (PLOS).

Here is my opening statement:

Evolution or Revolution In Science Communication

Mike Taylor, University of Bristol

“Rigour and Openness in 21st Century Science” conference

Oxford, Thursday 11 April 2013.

In my academic life, I study the evolution of dinosaurs. I know a bit about evolution, and before I give my position in this evolution-or-revolution debate, I’d like to dispel a few evolutionary myths.

First, the Victorians liked to talk about the scalanaturae, the great chain of…

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CRAN Task View: Analysis of Ecological and Environmental Data

Maintainer: Gavin Simpson
Contact: ucfagls at
Version: 2013-03-23

Open access journals: impact vs. price

Posted: 06/04/2013 by arilab in General
Tags: , ,

Is the price of OA journals relevant to the impact of the articles? Read this study!


WWF France released the report “Ancient Forests in the Northern Mediterranean: Neglected High Conservation Value Areas”, by Mansourian, S., Rossi, M. and Vallauri, D.

The report is available to download here:

Mediterranean forests is an ecoregion characterized as priority for conservation for several reasons. This report approaches the so-called “ancient forests”, a category of forest ecosystems that are partially covered by existing legislation and protection status, but not yet documented and described as such. There is a definition for “ancient forest” in the report:

“a general, relatively loose term to signify those forests that exhibit a number of fundamental forest ecological qualities, including ancientness but also complex structures, presence of deadwood, diversity of species and habitats, evidence of disturbance etc.”

Worth reading!

Στο site “” μπορείτε να βρείτε τις διδακτορικές διατριβές Ελλήνων επιστημονων. τα περισσότερα αρχεία μπορούν έχουν ανοιχτή πρόσβαση.

You can find an archive of PhD theses written by Greek scientists here: Most of the files are available to download.