George A. Lozano





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News and Views

Human Obesity.- Can ideas about the regulation of body mass in birds be used to explain the breakdown of regulation associated with obesity and anorexia in humans? It is an interesting idea, but unfortunately, there is no supporting evidence. Medicine can always benefit from the application of evolutionary ecology ideas, but we must be prepared to dismiss these ideas when they just do not fit the data. If you do not agree with my commentary, check the target article and decide yourself.

Immunoecology in species with Alternative Reproductive Strategies and Tactics, by Albert Ros and I: a critical review paper of all such studies and the relevant hypotheses. It is currently on BioArxiv while we try to find funds to cover publication costs elsewhere.

Four Hundred!.- One of my papers has attained the dubious distinction of having reached over 400 citations (by my count, Google credits me with a few more). Please, feel free to cite the others too.

National Institute of Ecology.- I recently most of 2016 at Korea's NIE. If you are considering doing a stint there, I suggest you do so again. Contact me for any specific questions.

Twelve Hundred!.- I have attained the dubious distinction of having reached over 1200 citations (by my count, Google credits me with a few more). Actually, it is only 900 and change on a per-author basis.

SAD Effects on Grantsmanship.- In September of 2014, I submitted a research proposal for competition specifically meant to support "high risk" and "innovative" research. It was evaluated from October to December. During that time, one day I looked out my window and thought about the people out there, head down, in the cold, going to work in the darkness, returning from work in the darkness. I immediately realized that there was a problem. While under the effects of SAD, people become risk-adverse, and prefer the same old stuff, the safe, the boring. Hence, any truly high-risk and innovative research proposal had no chance of being supported. As soon as I got out of my SAD-induced stupor, I wrote a paper about it.

Parasite Specificity.- Forbes and Mlynarek (2014) proposed the "coevolutionary release hypothesis". It argues that when some host populations are not exposed to a given parasite, gene flow from the unaffected host population hinders the affected host population’s ability to evolve resistance. My paper is an invited commentary on the hypothesis, highlighting some implications that are not addressed by the authors. Of course, the paper proposing the idea is far more interesting than my commentary.

The Scientific Method.- We all know how it works: hypothesis > predictions > test > accept/reject/modify the hypothesis > start again. It is the only way that science should be done. Unfortunately, it is difficult to publish papers that reject the hypothesis. Well, there is a new publishing initiative by the journal Cortex that forces scientists to adhere to the scientific method. Essentially, authors have to submit their introductions and methods before collecting any data. I hope it will spread to other journals and remind us all of the way we are supposed to be doing science.

Multi-authorship II.- Part 2 points out that the most commonly used measure of achievement, the h-index, encourages heavily multi-authored papers. Everyone is aware of the multi-authorship problem, and choosing to ignore it. The solution is simple: papers and citations ought to be pro-rated to account for the number of authors. The paper is featured in United Academics.

Multi-authorship I.- This is the first paper of a trilogy on multi-authorship. With the internet facilitating the process, "language editing" services can easily become ghost-writing services. Here, I explore the various types of "editing" services and examine at what point those contributions ought to be sufficient to warrant authorship. It turns out many researchers are standing on the shoulders of nameless giants.

Ruff Sex and Immunoecology.- Part 3 of the epic trilogy, this time including the third male morph: female mimics called faeders. As expected, their investment in immunocompetence is between that of females than that of the other 2 types of males. Immune responses were congruent with an investment in immune function based on the expected risk of injury, not energetic constraints.

Are Elite Journals Declining?-  A follow-up to the "demise of the impact factor" paper. This one asks whether the pattern we found previously in our large-scale analysis is also true for a handful of elite journals. The answer? The patterns holds. Elite journals are still good, but definitely not what they used to be. The paper has been is featured the London School of Economics' Impact of Social Sciences blog, Scientific American, and Nature.

The Demise of the Impact Factor.- In the digital age, we read papers, not journals. This simple observation led to the prediction that the relation between the Impact Factor and papers' citations had to be weakening. It turns out to be true! The paper has been featured in several magazines and websites: London School of Economics, Harvard, The Australian, Physics Today, Imperial College, London, The Atlantic,  Université de Montréal, Science Daily, Estonian Public Broadcasting, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Scientist, Russia 24 NewsSciences Dessus DessousOxfordDer Spiegel, and Nature (twice).

Impact Per Dollar.- Granting agencies ought to use the concept of cost-effective impact as an evaluating criterion for awarding research grants. It would be a better and more effective use of our taxes. The same idea was also proposed elsewhere a couple of months later (link).

The Estonian Centre of Evolutionary Ecology (ECEE) is a non-profit organization (reg. no. 80355697). The ECEE is a volunteer-based organization, and as such, has an internationally unmatched record of cost-effective high-impact research. Donations (potentially tax-deductible, depending on your jurisdiction) are always accepted.

Evolutionary Medicine.- This paper started as a reply to a critique of my obesity-anorexia paper. The critique was obviously based on a misunderstanding of the differences between ultimate and proximate hypotheses, so instead of replying to it directly, I just wrote about that misunderstanding in the context of human medicine.

Sexually Selected Emotions.- I have had this idea for a while. It proposes emotivity in humans, or the lack thereof, is sexually selected. It is a way for women to advertise their youth, and for men to advertise their maturity. You will also like the other commentaries, and might even try to read the target article.

Multiple Signals in Mate Choice.-  Like many other morphological and behavioural adaptations involved in mate choice, sexual signals might initially evolve to actually interfere with the ability of females to choose their sexual partners. Scott Adams (in Dilbert) calls it a "confusolopy".

Sexually Selected Anorexia Nervosa.- Variance occurs in all traits. Some individuals are too competitive and others not so much. Women like to look young. Youth can be assessed in many ways, and in some populations primarily by size. Anorexia nervosa might result from a sexually selected evolutionary drive to appear youthful in populations in which size becomes the primary indicator of age. This hypothesis explains most features of anorexia nervosa better than all the other adaptive explanations.

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Last modified: May, 2017