Snowflakes falling

December 5, 2014

We’ve finally found out, thanks to Nature News, that the paltry academic salary on which poor Jim Watson has been forced to rely is $375,000 per year as “chancellor emeritus” at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The current NIH salary limitation is $181,500, this is the maximum amount that can be charged to Federal grants. I’m here to tell you, most of us funded by NIH grants do not make anything like this as an annual salary.



The Office of Extramural Research blog, RockTalking, has 73 comments posted to the discussion of the new NIH biosketch format. I found one that expressed no concern and apparently the rest range from opposed to outraged. One of the things that people seem particularly enraged by is the report of the supposed pilot study they ran. The blog entry reports on how many people found the new format helpful and, as the many commenters point out, the real question is whether this new format is better or worse than the old format. This you will recognize, OER watchers, as a common ploy for the NIH- carefully construct the “study” or the data mining inquiry so as to almost guarantee an outcome that puts the NIH’s activities and initiatives in a favorable light. We are not fooled.


Ruth Coker Burks’ Story Corp is a must-listen. Jesus effing Christ we failed the fuck out of everything in the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Thank goodness there were a few people like Ms. Burks around.


Phoenix AZ police can’t stand being overshadowed in this critical measure of awesome policiness.


Apparently Cerebral Cortex is the latest academic journal to play shenanigans with the pre-print queue. Looks like there is an article by Studer and colleagues that was first published online Aug 7, 2013. I can find no information on the submission and acceptance dates. Perhaps I am just overlooking it but I have noticed a couple of times that journals with terrible timeline issues don’t seem to publish this information like most journals do these days. Go figure.


According to some guy on the internet Jim Watson also has an awesome house that he doesn’t have to pay for.

(in case you were worried about substantial amounts of his paltry $375K per year salary being eaten up in housing costs just like most other academics’ salaries.


What is even more worrying about the NIH Office of Extramural Research is that even when they set out a pretty clear goal they are so bad at reaching it.

Marcia McNutt in Science:

Consider a rather outrageous proposal. Perhaps there has been too much emphasis on bibliometric measures that either distort the process or minimally distinguish between qualified candidates. What if, instead, we assess young scientists according to their willingness to take risks, ability to work as part of a diverse team, creativity in complex problem-solving, and work ethic? There may be other attributes like these that separate the superstars from the merely successful. It could be quite insightful to commission a retrospective analysis of former awardees with some career track record since their awards, to improve our understanding of what constitutes good selection criteria. One could then ascertain whether those qualities were apparent in their backgrounds when they were candidates for their awards.

13 Responses to “Snowflakes falling”

  1. Dave Says:

    I’m not using the ‘print’ date for new papers anymore. I’m just using the date on which the fully corrected final version first appeared online. Don’t care what the NIH thinks about that. The whole print thing is bloody outdated.

    Surely a reversal on the Biosketch is coming from the NIH.

    Jim Watson = LOL
    Jim Watson’s house = AWESOME!


  2. eeke Says:

    As for Jim Watson, I hope whoever purchased his Nobel medal scratched out his name and wrote Rosalind Franklin in its place.


  3. drugmonkey Says:

    I’m not using the ‘print’ date for new papers anymore.

    This does not seem wise. Why not simply use the entire cite including the “Epub on 12/05/2014”?


  4. Dave Says:

    The print date is old-fashioned. Why can’t we just use the date that it first appears on Pubmed these days? And moreover, pure online-only journals are able to use this date, so why should it be any different for online/print journals?


  5. Lady Scientist Says:

    Jim Watson, white whiner extraordinaire. Maybe now that we know how much he is worth, someone can sue the sh*t out of him for something he said/did.


  6. drugmonkey Says:

    Why can’t we just use the date that it first appears on Pubmed these days?

    Since you can use it, why not just use both?


  7. drugmonkey Says:

    BTW, the JIF for Cerebral Cortex jumped from 8.68 in 2012 to 8.31 in 2013.


  8. Dave Says:

    Significant increase.


  9. drugmonkey Says:

    Mistyped. 6.68


  10. Eli Rabett Says:

    Watson’s salary is, for all practical purposes irrelevant. As most Nobel winners his public speaking fee is large, 30-75K$


  11. drugmonkey Says:



  12. Eli Rabett Says:

    Now there’s no charge for what he used to not give away for free? Do tell



  13. […] Additional Reading: Snowflakes Falling […]


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