A friend elsewhere pointed to this. It contains deep truths about PhD vivas.
Q: This whole snake thing is just a metaphor, right?
A: I assure you, the snakes are very real.
Once again my funding council wants me to enter details of ‘impacts’ their funded research has through a system called ResearchFish, and once again the inadequacies and time wasting nature of this thing become instantly evident.
For publications, it doesn’t use the standard astronomy paper repository so, if you want an accurate reflection of your publications, you have to do it by hand.
For outreach events, the specifications are so proscribed that it is impossible to describe major events like the Royal Society Summer Exhibition.
If you go to a lot of conferences they want details, right down to conference website, for every one.
This is taking the metrics fixated culture of ‘research management’ too far, so far, in fact, that anyone trying to fill this thing accurately would not have time to do any research.
The people behind it have built a system that is guaranteed to fail in its aims of measuring the ‘impact’ of research, not that I think such a thing is measurable anyway, at least not on the year to year timescales our #expletivedeleted# political masters wish.
This stinking pile of aquatic intestines can go screw itself.
IQ tests are not a particularly great way of measuring intelligence – for one thing, you can learn how to do them. But it is nevertheless amusing to look at this compilation of IQ scores by academic subject (I presume these scores are for students in these subjects not academics).
I’m looking smug because Physics comes out on top. Not that this means anything of course.
A pity pay rates don’t follow the same hierarchy.
Other commentary on this can be found here.
I’m away celebrating my Dad’s 85th birthday this weekend, so not much time for blogging. However, since my link to R’s ‘why you shouldn’t do a PhD’ remains a popular post here, I thought I should also link to a couple of posts by my friend and newly minted head of English at Anglia Ruskin University, Farah Mendlesohn’s posts on getting a PhD place and finishing a thesis. Farah’s not coming from a hard science background so some things are different (eg. in the sciences you usually do not choose your thesis subject but get given something to work on by your supervisor) but there is much that is transferrable across the disciplines here.
PhD students, PhD supervisors, and those looking for a PhD place can learn a lot form these posts.
Excellent post by a friend on why not to do a PhD:
Liv says a lot of good things here so that even if you do still want to do a PhD after reading this, you will be going into the process with eyes more open than I did.