A year of Anne’s reading – looking back

A post by Anne Jefferson For the last year, I’ve tweeted every paper I read. Inspired by Jacquelyn Gill’s resolution and hashtag #365papers, I wanted to spur myself to read more and to see how well I did. I never thought I’d read 365 papers, but I really didn’t have a sense of exactly how much I was reading, other than “far fewer than I download and put in my ‘to read’ folder.” Now, as the year draws to a close, I know how many papers I have read (78) and quite a bit more about my reading patterns. Plus, I know lots more cool science than I did this time last year.

In addition to tweeting all of my papers, I compiled a storify in order to keep track of my reading. In addition to letting me check what number paper I was on, I also found myself using the storify as a way to quickly recall the title of a paper I’d read. And today, I decided to data mine the tweets and quantify my 2015 reading.

What types of things did I read?
56 journal articles
4 journal articles that I co-authored that appeared in press in 2015
14 grant proposals as a reviewer
3 manuscripts as a reviewer
1 government technical report “cover to cover”
uncounted student thesis drafts and homework assignments
a gazillion really informative blog posts and on-line articles from which I learned a lot of science

I read and reviewed a lot more proposals this year than ever before. I also reviewed a lot fewer manuscripts than I had the past several years (in part because of all the proposals, but also because I declined reviews while on maternity leave). While I absolutely learn a ton of science reviewing proposals, I want to make sure that I don’t forsake reading papers that are directly useful (and citable) in my own work because I’m spending so much time on proposals. Something to watch for next year!

How did I get access to things I read?

  • Of the 61 journal articles, 15 (24%) were available open access on the publisher’s website, either because the whole journal is open access (e.g., Plos One, HESS), older articles are now available open access (e.g., AGU journals older than 2 years), or the authors paid for open access.
  • Many more articles are available via ResearchGate, author websites, university archives, or various uploads, so the actual proportion of articles I had to use my university access to get was lower.
  • Even with good university access, there were articles I wanted to read that I had a hard time getting. And there are articles I haven’t been able to read that I really wish I could.
  • A lot of my reading was done on my tablet while holding a baby, and I found that I gravitated towards articles that were OA because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of figuring out how to get the VPN working and download a PDF. In a somewhat surprising development, I found that I really appreciated that journals that had nice HTML versions of they articles available OA because they were more screen friendly than the PDFs I usually read.

Who wrote the things I read?

  • Inspired by a discussion with Jacquelyn Gill and Meghan Duffy, I quickly counted the proportion of woman first authors among the journal articles I read, and I was pleasantly surprised. Of the 61 articles, 20 had woman first authors (33%).
    33% is actually better than the 20% of US earth science faculty positions filled by women, though lower than the 40+% of geoscience PhDs awarded to women.
  • However, the number of unique woman first authors is somewhat lower (as is the number of man first authors).
  • And, my own papers turn out to bias the statistics. Of the four papers, I’m an author on this year, three have woman first authors (all different!). Removing my papers from the list, we find 30% of the papers I read had woman first authors.

When were the papers written?

Graph of number of papers versus year with huge peak in 2015.

My 2015 article consumption has a decidedly non-normal distribution, and this is probably perfectly “normal” for someone who has been reading the literature for several years.


I love this result, because it’s pretty much what I think “keeping up with the literature” should look like for someone who has been working in the same field for at least a few years. I’m reading a lot of new papers that come across my radar by email alerts. I’m finding plenty of papers out in the past few years that slipped past my detectors at first but are showing up in the citations of new papers. And I’m revisiting some old favorites and classics that have stood the test of time. My paper age distribution would have looked much different in graduate school or when I first started working in urban hydrology, as I frantically tried to “catch up” with the state of the science.

median publication date for things I read this year: 2014
weighted average publication date: 2010

What were the top journals I read this year?
Journal of Hydrology (7)
Water Resources Research (5)
Environmental Science and Technology (3)
Geophysical Research Letters (3) (even though we don’t have an institutional subscription and I can’t get new papers)
Hydrological Processes (3)
Journal of Environmental Engineering (3) (even though I have difficulty accessing new papers from ASCE journals)
Plos One (3) (yay open access)

In total, I read from 38 journals. I’m impressed by that.

When did I read and review?

Line graph showing peak reading in January and lowest reading in June.

Interesting. Very interesting.

I read the most papers in January. I also gave birth in early January. Newborns don’t do very much, but they like to be held. In this case, correlation is evidence of causation. Note that my reading rate declines as the baby becomes more active. It’s lowest in June, as it should be, since we were on vacation for several weeks. I’m mostly troubled by the October slump, for which I have no excuses other than mid-semester busy-ness. Even with classes and grants and conferences and grading, I’d like to feed my brain a bit better throughout the semester.

Any favorite papers?
There are so many good papers out there, but if I had to pick just one to rave about it, it would definitely be:

Lundquist, J. D., N. E. Wayand, A. Massmann, M. P. Clark, F. Lott, and N. C. Cristea (2015), Diagnosis of insidious data disasters, Water Resour. Res., 51, 3815–3827, doi:10.1002/2014WR016585.

It’s even open access, and so, so good for anyone who takes in and makes use of field data.

Categories: academic life, by Anne

A Highly Allochthonous Advent Calendar

A post by Chris RowanA post by Anne JeffersonGreetings! We’ve both had a bit of a whirlwind year both in our professional and home lives, which has sadly cut into our blogging time. However, for the festive season, we thought we’d share a few snippets of our scientific year: the science we’ve been working on, the places we’ve been, and stuff we’ve just thought was cool. Each day we’ll share a new image (marked by the red number in the grid below) with a brief explanation of why . As Advent progresses, the calendar will fill up with the images we’ve already shared. Hopefully you enjoy these little tastes of what we do in our day jobs.

Update: Well, there was a slight decoupling between door number and day of December it went up towards the end there, but we made it! And our excuse is that when you have young children, even ones we can drag to see waterfalls (the ultimate combination of rocks and water) without too much complaining, Christmas week provides ample real-life distraction from the internet.

The Highly Allochthonous Family at Chagrin Falls

The Highly Allochthonous family at Chagrin Falls, Ohio, earlier this year. Not just a waterfall, but an urban waterfall – be still Anne’s beating heart!

From all the Highly Allochthonous family, we hope you had a fun festive season and wish you all the best for the New Year, when there may be a bit more blogging activity: we won’t make it a resolution, since we all know what happens to those on January 2nd..

Full entries for each day of Advent can be seen by clicking on the thumbnails in the calendar.

4th December 17th December 18th December 19th December
23rd December 6th December 8th December 9th December
1st December 2nd December 22nd December 12th December
5th December 3rd December 20th December 13th December
14th December 24th December 10th December 21st December
16th December 15th December 7th December Flowbackpreview
Categories: geology

The case of the disappearing lake

High in the Oregon Cascades, there is a lake attracting quite a bit of attention this summer. That’s because it is disappearing.

The disappearing lake, appropriately called Lost Lake, isn’t just disappearing because of the drought that Oregon has been experiencing this year. Lost Lake disappears fairly regularly – that’s probably how it got it’s name after all.

What makes Lost Lake’s disappearing act particularly attention-worthy this year is that it has been caught on video. Now the world knows Lost Lake’s secret: it has a hole in its bottom.

Back in April, the Bend newspaper posted a video to youtube that has subsequently attracted over 5.6 million views.

Actually, it has 3 holes, as this recent video from Oregon Public Broadcasting explains:

The OPB video above does a good job of connecting Lost Lake’s hole into the broader story of the hydrogeology of the McKenzie River watershed. That’s the area where I did my PhD research, and some of the facts quoted in the video are from my publications. Based on tritium-helium dating we did at several springs in the McKenzie watershed, we think the mean transit time of water underground (from snowmelt to spring flow) is about 3-7 years, and, as the video said, we think that Lost Lake contributes its water to one or more of the springs at Clear Lake, a few miles away.

In fact, I was ahead of the curve in being fascinated by Lost Lake. I spent a chunk of 2004 trying to measure the two streams flowing into Lost Lake and the change in volume of the lake itself. Lost Lake is what is known as a closed-basin lake, which means there aren’t any streams that carry water away from it. We think any streams that once drained the lake were covered by lava flows a few thousand years ago. Since there aren’t any streams that leave the lake, any water that comes in has to leave either by evaporation or groundwater recharge (both via the holes and through slower infiltration into the sediments). If we measure as many inputs and outputs as possible, we can compute a water budget for the lake, just like balancing your checkbook.

Unfortunately, I never finished working up the data, so I can’t give you the answer of how much water disappears down those holes. But watching those videos from this summer, I’m not sure my 2004 data would have told us the same story as this year. I think the lake held more water in 2004, because the holes were much more plugged up than they are now. The holes being more pluggedh corresponds with the story in the video about some well-meaning (but vandalous) visitors throwing trash and dirt into the holes, which is story that was told when I was working there. There were even a few worried mutters about what would happen if Lost Lake stopped draining, because then it could cause flooding of US highway 20, which is a major route across the Cascades and runs along the lakeshore.

Here’s what the main hole looked like when I was wandering Lost Lake’s shores:

Lost Lake sinkhole, as it appeared in September 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

Lost Lake sinkhole, as it appeared in September 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

View from the shore of the Lost Lake sinkhole, as it appeared in September 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

View from the shore of the Lost Lake sinkhole, as it appeared in September 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

Here are a few more beauty of shots of Lost Lake. I don’t think it’s revealed all of its mysteries to us yet.

Lost Lake, from the northeast, as it appeared in June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

Lost Lake, from the northeast, as it appeared in June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

The Lost Lake Cinder cones that produced the flows that probably dammed the paleo-stream that once drained Lost Lake. June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

The Lost Lake Cinder cones that produced the flows that probably dammed the paleo-stream that once drained Lost Lake. June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

Lost Lake,somewhat fuller in June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

Lost Lake,somewhat fuller in June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

Lost Lake, looking northeast, as it appeared in September 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

Lost Lake, looking northeast, as it appeared in September 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

Lost Lake, looking southwest, as it appeared in September 2004. This is like the direction that the groundwater flows. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

Lost Lake, looking southwest, as it appeared in September 2004. This is like the direction that the groundwater flows. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

The shoreline of Lost Lake in JUne 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

The shoreline of Lost Lake in June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.

I know a few other lakes in the area that pull their own disappearing acts but have yet to be featured in a viral video, but I won’t steal the spotlight from Lost Lake, with its charismatic sinkholes and easy accessibility. Instead, I’ll hope that the video viewers and lake visitors use Lost Lake’s hole as a chance to contemplate the connections between surface and groundwater and how what we do at the surface can affect water quantity and quality miles away.

Categories: by Anne, fieldwork, geopuzzling, hydrology, volcanoes

Stuff we linked to on Twitter last week

Some items of interest from the last week of web surfing (do we call it that anymore)?

Categories: geology

Stuff we linked to on Twitter last week

(Actually, the last two weeks, because we got busy and didn’t post last week. But we have good excuses, as Chris had his first PhD student pass his oral exams and proceed to candidacy and Anne had two papers accepted. Even better, we’ve got twice the Twitter-y goodness for you this week.)

Categories: links