THE Scholarly Web - Love is all around

Weekly transmissions from the blogosphere

February 20, 2014

Surely academics are above getting involved with the arbitrary declarations of love that are demanded on St Valentine’s Day?

Not at all, it seems – particularly for the many scholars on Twitter, who embraced the #AcademicValentines hashtag with gusto, using it to share poems and chat-up lines that should resonate in universities up and down the country.

“Roses are red, violets are blue/I might say ‘revise and resubmit,’ but I’d never reject you,” read one example, tweeted by Brian J. Phillips (@brian_jphillips), research professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics in Mexico.

Alice Evans (@alicevanslse), fellow in human geography in the department of geography and environment at the London School of Economics, seemed to have weddings on the brain as her first #AcademicValentines tweet read simply: “Call for proposals.”

However, it wasn’t all about love for Ms Evans. “We appreciate your submission but regrettably, it is not within the scope of the journal,” read her second suggestion, translating this as “it’s not you it’s me”.

Other academics took their cue from songs. “If you like it then you shoulda cited references and put a bibliography on it,” said former professional American footballer turned film-maker Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry), drawing inspiration from Beyoncé, while Sana Bau (@SanaBau), a PhD student in the School of Botany at the University of Melbourne, chose to look a little further back in time to Dead or Alive, the 1980s pop band. “You spin me right round, baby right round,” she tweeted, adding, “like a centrifuge.”

Mauro Dragoni (@maurodragoni) proved that romance is very much alive and well in Italy. “All big data of the world cannot provide a proof-of-concept of how much you are beautiful,” tweeted the Fondazione Bruno Kessler researcher, while historian Mark Williams (@ExileonWainSt) asked simply: “Do you believe in love at first cite?”

Peter Tennant (@Peter_Tennant), junior epidemiologist at Newcastle University, captured the feeling of love in a way that any scholar will understand. “When we’re together, I feel that same head-rushing thrill as when someone cites one of my papers,” he said, while Tim Crowe (@CroweTim), a nutrition academic at Deakin University in Australia, said: “On a scale of 1 to 10, I give you an impact factor of 11.”

There was a hint of regret in some of the Valentine’s tweets. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” began Angie Straathof (@angiegoesNL). “I heard they were lovely and temperate, but I spent them all in the lab,” concluded the PhD researcher at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

Others were suggestive. “I want to examine public and private spheres with you,” declared Nele Lenze (@nele_lenze), research fellow at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore, while University of California Riverside graduate student Michael Matson (@locomike1219) said: “You’re so hot you could run a 40 minute liquid autoclave cycle.”

Not to be outdone, we used Times Higher Education’s Twitter account (@timeshighered) to get involved ourselves. Our verse read: “Roses are red, violets are blue…I am radically underutilising my PhD in botany.”

Send links to topical, insightful and quirky online comment by and about academics to chris.parr@tsleducation.com

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