Sören Stapel

Links: German elections, grad student advice, IL/IR symposium, O’Bagy

Election Day in Germany is on Sunday. Yesterday was the information event for my tasks as a poll worker on Sunday. As we all know, Germans are said to be very organized and efficient, but can be harsh. This event proved the rule. And I feel like making fun about one specific disadvantage of being German:

German elections and forecasting

Back to serious issues. A few weeks ago I somehow lamented about the state of forecasting Germany’s federal elections in 2013. Sadly, I wasn’t aware of Kai Arzheimer’s work. In the mid of August, he has launched a series of blog posts on forecasting the German elections and some follow-ups here, here, here, and here. But you could also have a glance at his code and data for replication or just visit his blog in general which is very entertaining.

He also has a piece in the online edition of Al Jazeera on Germany’s elections, the EU, and the future of the Euro.

The European Council on Foreign Relations is currently running a great series looking at how the German elections being viewed from by other EU partners. So far, the series covered Poland, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Britain, and Spain.

Scholars from the Social Science Research Center in Berlin (WZB) have looked at party manifestos of all German federal elections. Their data is now available and they have published some at the Democracy & Democratization blog. See also their introduction to the Manifesto project. The online edition of the newspaper Die Zeit also presented some of their findings (in German). The base line is: political parties differ on many issues in their party manifestos and there is a general turn to the left regarding both economic and socio-political dimensions (less market-oriented and more progressive). But, of course, exceptions prove the rule.

Advice (not only) for grad students

Chris Blattmann has some very clear suggestions for his grad students on how to work together: regular one-on-one meetings, group meetings, how to manage the adviser, but also suggestions regarding the course work and especially methodological skills. This is obviously limited to his PhD students, but some advisers could learn a thing or two from his ideas and develop their own advice. And see also Insider Higher Ed taking up this topic.

On a related note, Christopher Long recommends graduate students to start tweeting:

For graduate students, the risks associated with Twitter and other social media modes of public communication are ultimately outweighed by the value to be gained by participating in a public community of scholarship with a global reach. So, don’t listen to the naysayers, lend your voice to the conversation and amplify the work your colleagues are doing. Your scholarship and your perspective will be enriched and broadened by the endeavor. But don’t just tweet, hoot!

I couldn’t agree more. Yet, Thad McIlroy reminds us that twitter is just a small part of any author/publisher platform. So, “try and keep it in perspective”.

And the third piece of advice for this week looks at the publication process. Well, it takes time and it is painful. But Nathan Jensen describes the journey of a paper through the review process just perfectly. It took him almost five years to land a paper, so see his assessment of reviewer’s fairness, juggling multiple projects, and preventing sloppiness. Tom Pepinsky was actually one of the reviewers who repeatedly had to critcize this paper, and in the end stated “I have essentially run out of criticisms to make of this paper and it is time for it to be published.” Steve Saideman also linked to this piece and stressed that a paper can become better when taking the R&R process seriously.

Symposium on the International Law-International Relations-Nexus

Symposia are currently en vogue. In addition to the one in the End of IR Theory over at the Duck, Jeffrey L. Dunoff and Mark A. Pollack from Temple University, Philadelphia, have a symposium on Interdisciplinary Perspectives on International Law and International Relations: The State of the Art over at Opinio Juris. Richard Steinberg kicked off the event with Wanted- Dead or Alive: Realism in International Law, but see also the reply by Ian Hurd and Steinberg’s reply to Hurd. Yesterday, Larry Helfer blogged about the flexibility in international agreements and Ed Swayne provided some comments. But also see the other contributions that will be published over the course of this week, featuring inter alia Jana von Stein and ICJ Judge Joan E. Donoghue.

The O’Bagy incidence

Elizabeth O’Bagy is a think-tanker at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) who pretended she had a doctorate from Georgetown University. See some parts of the story here and here. It is still unclear to me whether she just has not completed (yet) her or whether she was ever enrolled at Georgetown. So Henry Farrell ask, Why Care About the O’Bagy Affair? Both, Dan Drezner and Steve Saideman weigh in and stress that it makes a huge difference whether one has finished the dissertation or not. It all boils down to twisting the facts and personal integrity.

(There was also a big controversy on Reddit about the hiring practice at the ISW and some more conspiracy theories about O’Bagy’s boss wanting to ruin her career after she had quit. I wanted to link this thread as well but it is down already. Mweh.)

3 comments

  1. Chris Long

    I have been thinking a lot about how to tie twitter into a larger online presence as well as how social media can be used to augment and amplify traditional publications.

    Thanks for mentioning the post here, and for the links you provide here in this post.

  2. Tedesco

    Thanks a lot for this really good blog! I’m about to start my Master’s in IR and these sites here are really interesting and helpful!

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