Aspiring scientists quickly learn that where they publish their hard earned data is important for career progression. A paper in a prestigious journal pushes them up the professional ladder faster than the same paper in an obscure one.
This has led to an obsession with quantifying the prestige of a journal using impact metrics. Over at Conservation Bytes, Corey Bradshaw presents a RShiny App to rank ecology and conservation journals using a composite of different citation metrics. His app is based on a published paper, so you can be sure that it technically sound. It is not my intention to criticise these efforts; if you want to rank jounals, then this composite approach is definitely the way to go.
However, I don’t think there is much to gain from ranking journals based on their impact metrics. Moreover, scientists – especially early-career scientists – would be better off judging journals based on whether is will ensure that their paper reaches the right audience.
Multidisciplinary knowledge focuses on traditional academic disciplines, like ecology, law, economics, governance, ethics and sociology. It emphasises T-shaped knowledge, where a deep understanding of a narrower sub-discipline (the vertical line of the T) is married to a more general appreciation of a wider range of topics (the horizontal line of the T).
Practical skills refer to the ability to actually get things done. This includes skills like effective communication, risk assessment, conflict resolution or project management.
Finally, personal aptitudes are those – often intangible – personality traits that make people good to work with. These aptitudes include things like patience, humility, trustworthiness, leadership, punctuality, reliability etc. Continue reading →
Please note: I discontinued the project Startup of Nature, so I have removed all the live links from this blog post. If you are interested in brainstorming ideas about the interplay between conservation and entrepreneurship, please reach out to me via this site’s contact page, or my professional website.
What follows in the original blog post from 2015 (links removed):
I’m excited to announce the launch of my latest pet-project, Startup for Nature, a website aimed at promoting entrepreneurial approaches to conserving nature.
Regular readers know that I believe we need more entrepreneurship in conservation. That’s why I set up a website devoted to answering some common questions about conservation entrepreneurship and showcasing some of the most innovative conservation startups.
If Startup for Nature encourages just one aspiring entrepreneur to launch their own conservation venture, then I’ll consider it successful. But to do this, it must first reach the right audience with the most engaging content.
Here’s the part where I ask for your help.
You can help Startup for Nature create a sub-culture of entrepreneurship amongst conservationists. Here’s how:
Click through to Startup for Nature. Browse around and let me know if there is anything you’d like to see more (or less) of.
If you like what you see, please share it with everyone in your social network (using the sharing buttons on the website). By reaching a broader audience, we increase the chances of finding that one inspired person who might launch the next big conservation venture.
If you know of anyone who has launched their own conservation venture, or you have launched one yourself, please let me know so that I can add it to the site. Celebrating the most innovation startups will hopefully increase the uptake of entrepreneurship in conservation.
It’s a short opinion piece that is mainly intended to introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship to an audience of conservation scientists. The article should definitely not be considered as a how-to guide to conservation entrepreneurship, nor is it a comprehensive review of all the ways entrepreneurship can help to protect biodiversity. Instead, I hoped to convey three key points:
(1) there are conservation problems that are especially amenable to small, fast bootstrapped solutions;
(2) there are new ways of funding conservation initiatives that weren’t available 10 years ago; and
(3) most early-career conservation biologists in the current employment landscape will, at some point, be unemployed, so self-started conservation initiatives could become a necessity.
If you’re reading this, then it’s safe to assume that you love nature. Your passion for all creatures great and small might even have pushed you to pursue a career in ecology or conservation biology. But is passion enough?
We live in exciting times. Never before has any individual had as much potential to influence the rest of civilisation as we do now. Around the globe, from New Zealand to Peru, millions of people are connected to one another. We innovate, create and share our lives with the world. Technology has flattened the earth and possibly ensured that the only thing separating us from the next global revolution is a girl in rural Bangladesh with a big idea and a fast internet connection.
At the same time, however, we are facing natural crises unlike anything we have seen before. Every day more and more natural habitat is being transformed and species, some yet to be discovered, are going extinct faster than we can imagine. How is this possible? How can a period of terrible destruction overlap with one of endless potential? What is causing this paradox and how can we fix it? Continue reading →
A comment on my post about getting your dream job in conservation pointed out the importance of sharing your dreams and ambitions with like-minded people. I found this simple suggestion incredibly profound. In addition to this, since this blog has been active, I have been asked about its name – The Solitary Ecologist – by multiple people. It turns out that the name of the site is linked to my career dream and this post will explain how. Continue reading →
For those of you drawn here by the promise of sound advice on how to land your dream job in conservation, here it is: lower your expectations.
Before I explain this somewhat cynical answer, I must disclose that I am not a career counsellor, nor do I have much personal experience in finding my dream job (I’m still a student). Nevertheless, I do believe that we can all have a fulfilling career and heaps of job satisfaction (eventually) but we, as early career conservation professionals, must acknowledge that we probably won’t get our perfect job immediately. We will have to go out there, build a career and cultivate our own perfect working environment. Continue reading →