On Ethics and Integrity in Academia
I've mentioned before that my advisor is a really really good guy. He believes in publishing quality work in quality venues, and that's all. He's very methodologically meticulous, and extremely well respected in this regard.
This necessarily means that his students don't publish that much, me included. Some because I didn't push myself enough (he's not pushy or demanding), but then also because he kind of nixes pieces of work as not good enough.
So now I find myself in a pretty shitty position when it comes to an academic job search, to the point that I don't even want to try. I talked to him about it recently; I told him that I respected his reputation and his good work, and I didn't want to stray from it, but also that I friggin' need some more pubs if I ever want to be a prof at a semi-reasonable place.
What to do?
Then there is a whole other, more insidious level of academic integrity. What I've been talking about is pretty forgivable, just submitting semi-frivolous work to low- and mid-level venues just to pad a pub list. But this other level is different. When I was working on my paper, there were numerous ways in which I could have semi-fudged what I was doing, but I draw the line there. Not explicitly making up numbers, but methodologically skewing results to look better. I know people do this all the time. It sucks, and it means reviewers have to be really on the lookout, but they aren't always. It's pretty easy, in my field, to do this skewing in non-obvious, and not even intentionally insidious ways. It could just be from carelessness. Anyway, with this paper I worked on, I could have, but I didn't. It might cost me a pub or two or ten over my life, but I learned well from my advisor and I don't want to be that kind of researcher. But I also don't want to be out of a job.
What to do?
Thanksgiving and giving thanks
I had a very nice Thanksgiving weekend with my in-laws, where there was food, laughter, love, and fun. It was lovely. I have much to be thankful for this season, and I think it's important we remember that, all of us, that we are very lucky to not be living in a society where things are so plentiful in the grand scheme of things.
Things I am grateful for:
- My health - it is easy to forget that just being able to go about your day normally is something to be grateful for.
- My husband - I've talked about how wonderful he is, and he is such a huge boon to the quality of my life. I *heart* Mr. PhizzleDizzle.
- My family - not only is my entire family awesome and functional, but they too, are healthy and happy. This also makes my life easy. I know enough people who are totally awesome themselves but are dragged down by f'ed up family dynamics or family health issues, and this is not the case for me. Thank goodness.
- My in-laws - the fact that they are not monsters and in fact, are nice people, is probably one reason why Mr. PhizzleDizzle is also so awesome, so woohoo for me.
- Our lack of debt - Thanks to our respective parentals, who shelled out big $$$ for college, we are both free and clear in terms of college debt. We owe nothing. To anyone. This is suuuuuch a weight off of us and allows us to easily live within our means, despite making very little money. The other thing that enables us to live within our means are our awesome parents who taught us how to do so. We don't have a lot of "stuff" but we have enough and are very happy.
- My looks - I sort of just added this on from reading JLK's post on hotness. But let's face it, society cares about beauty and I'm just happy I was born reasonably good looking. Add to that a healthy sense of self-confidence and I am able to navigate lots of this world pretty easily. I do all the right things, eat reasonably well, exercise (sort of - not lately), and all that, but also am blessed with a pretty nice rack, a pretty nice ass, a pretty nice figure, a pretty damned awesome metabolism, and a variety of pretty nice other features that just make my life easier. And I am thankful for that as well. One of the most annoying things in the world is a chick who complains about how ugly she is when she is in fact very aesthetically pleasing. I am not one of those chicks. I am grateful for what I've got.
- My friends - I have the least catty, most supportive, bestest friends in the world. I just wish they all lived near me. They're all the things girlfriends should be, and none of the things girlfriends shouldn't be. I love them.
I had more to post about but I just finished making brownies and it's time to eat them. So it will have to be another time.
But I hope everyone had a marvelously happy Thanksgiving filled with love, family, and laughter.