- Misha Glenny, The Guardian: “Although Pisani cannot really explain all of Indonesia’s et ceteras, she does project a more optimistic and warmer picture of a fascinating country than most outside commentators. For anyone about to visit the place, her book is an essential companion.”
- Joshua Kurlantzick, The New York Times: “For the most part, [Pisani] remains content to drift back into anecdotes rather than pull them together…. Pisani falls back on easy clichés about Jakarta, reform, and the population itself…. Another opportunity to know the unknown giant is lost.”
- Ashlee Betteridge, DevPolicy blog: “Part adventurous travelogue, part investigation into nationbuilding, Indonesia Etc. is easy and entertaining to read. For those who have spent some time in the country, you will likely find yourself nodding along with the author’s observations and experiences. For those who know little of our neighbour, it’s a worthy and engaging overview.”
- The Economist: “There are very few good books in English to help the general reader to understand it. Ms Pisani’s is probably the best. Into a beautifully written, richly entertaining account of a year spent travelling around the archipelago, she weaves a deep knowledge of the country acquired first as a reporter there, and then as an epidemiologist.”
- Ben Bland, Financial Times: “Occasionally, she overreaches in her pursuit of the colourful phrase (she describes a town on the island of Flores as smelling of “stale sex” after the meat from a whale hunt is hung out to dry) and her insistence on “just saying yes” to new experiences can give her the air of a worthier-than-thou backpacker. But her regular comic mishaps, punchy insights and journalist’s eye for the telling detail more than compensate.”
- Pallavi Aiyar, L.A. Review of Books: “A rollicking good adventure that knits together a complex of stories and insights, in a feat that rivals the knitting together of the sprawling nation it describes…. To read Indonesia, Etc. is to grow rather fond of both author and country.”
- Jim Della-Giacoma, New Mandala: “Pisani has produced a book on Indonesia that is as fresh for the novice as for those who have a lifetime of experience in the country.”
- Kirkus Reviews: “A brave, lively writer opens up a wondrous, changing nation.”
I have three recent posts over on World Bank blogs. Check them out!
- How to leverage the time children spend out of school for learning
- The Latest Quantitative Research on Education in South Africa (and What It Tells Us about the Rest of the World)
- The power and limits of personal connection
Over at Let’s Talk Development, I write about an experiment that showed an inspirational movie to Ugandan high school students and led many of them to pass their math exams:
Some years ago, I was a graduate student in economics, and one of my advisors taught me that well-done tables, all at the end, will allow a reader to capture the entire narrative of your paper quickly.
On the other hand, if I’m actually reading the paper from start to finish, tables at the end mean constant flipping back and forth.
On the other other hand, when I’m going back to papers later, it’s much easier to find the results I’m looking for if the tables and figures are together in the back.
When I review economics papers (with tables at the back), I end up keeping two PDF files of the paper open at once, one open at the text and the other open at the tables and figures.
As you can see, the vast majority of respondents prefer tables interspersed throughout the paper. Now, it’s clear from responses to the tweet that not all respondents were economists. I suspect that most respondents were people who read economics papers, so if your goal is communicating with readers, this may be a useful metric. If your goal is to impress academic economists on hiring committees, who may or may not be well represented on Twitter (I don’t have a strong prior), then it may not be so helpful.
Discussants to the tweet highlighted the points I make above, that reading on a device is easier with tables interspersed, and that tables at the back make for easier skimming.
But I’d note that if you’re going to do tables at the back, do them right: Provide clear titles and notes such that the tables really can stand alone. As one economist noted, “Tables at the end are okay with decent notes, horrible without.”
If you have a website, a few people suggested having two versions, which is an interesting idea (and more work than I will credibly do).
So, writers, pick your poison. You’re likely to annoy at least a few readers either way!
I wrote a couple of items this week around the blogosphere:
Looking for a shortcut to identifying great teachers? You may be out of luck. On new evidence about the relationship between teacher performance on tests and student learning.
“The right data at the right time”: How to effectively communicate research to policy makers. A policymaker from Jamaica’s Ministry of Education shares insights on how to communicate your research.
I’ve wondered about this, so this week I posed the question to the twitterverse. Lots of people, including several journal editors, weighed in. (When I say editors, I include co-editors and associate editors.)
Here’s my take away: It doesn’t matter very much — and maybe not at all, depending on the editor. It’s certainly second (or third or fourth) order relative to the actual quality and relevance of your paper. But there may sometimes be a return to having the most well-known or senior author submit, so if it’s low-cost, then go for it.
Here are the details: I posed the question, “Do you believe it matters WHICH AUTHOR submits your co-authored paper to the journal?”
170 Twitter users weighed in, as follows:
Of course, we don’t know who those 170 voters are or how much weight we should put on their opinions. (No offense to all you fine voters; I appreciate and value you!)
A few editors weighed in directly. One wrote: “Offering my *personal* perspective on this as editor. When better known submits it signals (to editor) their commitment to the paper.” She then clarified, “To be clear, not saying there’s a lot of info. I’m being honest that I do take epsilon more notice when a recognizable name submits.”
Another editor wrote (and a couple of others “liked”), “I’d say, don’t sweat the small stuff.” That’s in line with the first editor, who added, “Those mental cycles better spent on fine tuning the abstract, title and intro.”
Another editor wrote, “I don’t pay attention to which author submits. But now that I have the floor: I do remember super late or non-responsive referees.”
An academic weighed in, “For me, ‘lead’ author submits. When I lead, I submit. If my student leads the work, they should submit (this is how they learn).” This jives with what one of the editors wrote: “Ultimately, I think authors should take turns and let resources influence who submits. And I practice that.”
So there you go! I’ve left attributions off this post, but you can read the original discussion here.