A week in the life of a scientist – Anne’s first week of summer

Spring semester 2016 is over! Grades were submitted Saturday night, and my research group was eager to get started with our summer research. Since I’m semi-participating in the #365scienceselfies project, I have some fun documentation of our adventures this week.

Categories: by Anne, fieldwork, in the lab, photos

Environmental Earth Science in the News – Spring semester 2016 compilation

Students in GEOL 21062, Spring 2016, at Kent State University have been sharing interesting news stories with me all semester long. Here’s our complilation. Hopefully these are interesting things for other people too!

Categories: climate science, environment, links, society, teaching

Snapshots of the Middle Cuyahoga River on World Water Day

Categories: by Anne, fieldwork, hydrology, photos

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