Archive for July, 2015

Obscure Academic Work. Where to find that ?

July 13, 2015

nature v natureTo many of us involved in academia/STM publishing, whilst amusing, this offering [1] from Pedromics [2] sadly paints a rather familiar and depressing picture. (I spotted this one last night). There are heaps of resources available to browse through in this genre, most recently, HEFCE’s “The Metric Tide” [3].

the metric tidePhotograph: JL-Pfeifer/

I’m not unknown for sticking to “less heavy material” at least over the weekend. So off I trudged this morning looking to see if I could find anything that I hadn’t seen before on YouTube such as the likes of Scientific Peer Review, ca. 1945 indusieumgresium et al but couldn’t find much. This was not bad, but didn’t watch to the end [4]. YMMV.

Next, I thought I would turn to Twitter. Not much to find using the search of ‘science publishing parody’ [5]. From memory, there have been loads of amusing hashtags to follow and no doubt, many more to follow but where to find them all, the writer is unaware of. A rather wildcard result having searched for ‘funny science publishing #’ [6] Where else to look on social media. Ah yes, Storify [7]. There are some classics there. Indeed, my most popular Storify thus far has been one of the rather popular of #AlternateScienceMetrics tweets at that time [8].

On my search for some form of collective online aggregated resource to such material, one was reminded of the Twitter account, Academia Obscura. [9] AO badge One was aware of this as an entity on Twitter as referenced above, but not elsewhere on the next click of ones contraption.

A quick stumbling upon this website uncovers headline categories as such likes of:


lamaPeer Reviewer 3, allegedly.

“Academia Obscura is proof that the university life isn’t all stuffiness, elbow patches and greying old men. Researcher (and procrastinating PhD student) Glen Wright takes an irreverent look inside the ivory tower, uncovering the amusing and often bizarre world within. Cats and dogs writing scientific papers, real life nutty professors, and some super-specific scientific research that might just change your life. Academia Obscura takes the reader on a unique journey through the groves of academe. Starting with the earliest in-jokes of medieval scribes, the book exposes Easter eggs buried in peer-reviewed papers, guides the reader through the art and science of academic publishing and conferences, and finds that occasionally the mad scientist stereotype is pretty spot on. Academics will never take themselves too seriously again. Neither will anyone else.”

Crowdfunding for the book was opened on 29th June 2015 and I for one supported it immediately. You too can learn more and pledge yourself here. So go on, you know it makes sense.