Last week, I was part of a very interesting discussion about how data sharing in ecology has, so far, failed. Up to 64% of archived datasets are made public in a way that prevents re-use, but this is not even the biggest problem. We are currently sharing ecological data in a way that is mostly useless.

In the last part, I discussed ways to respond to the associate editor, and now it is time to discuss how to actually write the replies to the reviewers. This is a frustrating exercise, but one that can be made constructive if you try to find, in each response, a way to make your article better. Let’s dig in!

One of the thing that made publishing easier for me was to learn how to reply to reviewer comments adequately. This can easily be overlooked, and yet understanding how it works and how to react makes a significant difference. A good response can make you skip a round of review, or can convince the editor to not reject the paper in the reviewers have strong criticisms. Everything that follows is what worked for me, and it might not work for you, and you may want to approach the problem differently. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

Thanks to support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the Québec Centre for Biodiversity Sciences, and the Federation of Students Associations at the Université de Montréal, we have organized a science bioblitz at the Laurentians biology field station, operated by the Université de Montréal. Now that a good fraction of the data are online, I wanted to have a look at the results.

A little while ago, I gave a talk about the promises and challenges of high performance computing for biodiversity sciences. Because I wanted to go beyond “having more cores means we can run more model replicates”, I started by discussing the availability of data on Canadian’s biodiversity, and how we can do data-driven research. Long story short, unless we like birds, we can’t.

Since I am still waiting for my immune system to win its week-long fight with some viruses (go cytokines go!), I figured I would deviate from the planning and write something related to, not ecology directly, but how to mislead people with statistics. And it involves the logistic curve, so it is basically population dynamics anyways.

By the time this blog post will be online, I will be back from a two days bioblitz, during which experts will have inventoried part of the biodiversity in our field station. In the months leading up to this, and in part because part of my own research depends on data collected by citizens, I have been thinking about Citizen Science a lot. And I am not entirely sure of what this is exactly, besides a cost-effective way of getting data.

There is a very important family of models in ecology based around describing the flows and fluxes of quantity across “boxes”. This can be biomass across species, alleles across spatial patches, population size, individuals across age classes, etc. Almost all of these models are based on ordinary differential equations, and they use parameters to express ecological processes. And the more quantities you want to model, the more parameters you need to link them together. As a result, complexity of the models often increase in a non-linear way with regard to the size of the problem.

In this follow-up to the previous part of the manuscript on computational ecology, I explore some of the ways to facilitate collaborations between data users and data producers. You can read the first part to get up to speed, and then feel free to comment and give feedback.

Deep down, I feel like there are two types of person in me when I am confronted to a science problem. First, there’s the artist. The big-picture, pie-in-the-sky guy, with creativity, and moxie, and a “We’ll sweat the details later” kind of attitude. And then, there’s the craftsman. The stickler for details, the one in charge of making sure that everything is clear, the one who understand the tools and knows how to use them. This is maybe especially important for computational research, but we need to understand how these two persons-in-us, the artist and the craftsperson, interact.