The second quarter of my #365papers

I have continued the #365papers challenge I started in the beginning of October 2016 (link to the blog post of the 1st quarter). This is report of articles I’ve read during January, February and March 2017. I continued with same method as earlier, that is I read articles published in the same year in each month. In January I read articles published in 2001 (or earlier), in February in 2002 and in March in 2003. You may guess how this will continue in the future. 😉 Here you can find the list of papers I read in this quarter (365papers2Q).

I have so many articles saved in my computer that I will not search for new ones. If for some reason I wouldn’t have enough articles published in a certain year, I will then pick articles published before that year, as I did in January.

At some point, I thought I had picked a lot articles with a Finnish first author, but there’s only 18 of the total 90 articles in this quarter. 🙂


The years 2001-2003 (and also some years before) were the time when studies of UV vision and UV colouration of birds really boomed. I read in total 13 articles of this topic, such as:


Another up-and-coming topic at that time was avian olfaction, and I read 4 articles of that topic.


Other themes were trophic cascades,


and herbivore-induced plant volatiles.


In addition to these Twitter messages, I’ve collected personal notes of each article. The note could be one of the Twitter messages. Or some handy method, like ‘faecal samples from textile bags for holding birds’. Or some sidenote that I find interesting, such as ‘the podzolised soil in Kevo area is mostly acidic (pH 3.5–4.5) and poor in nitrogen (carbon/nitrogen ratio approximately 40:1), but the humus matter is rich in phosphorus available for plants’. And sometimes the notes are new English words for me, for example ‘suet’, ‘dowel’, ‘enantiomer’ or ‘esker’.

It’s surprising how many articles have typos. Now I don’t want to reread my own articles, because I’m quite sure there would be also typos. 🙂

Another thing I was thinking when reading these articles is how often they use the passive voice, especially in the methods. There’s at least this blog post by Stephen Heard about the topic. Passive voice leaves a feeling that no one in particular did the actual work. I can understand this can be a problem if there is only one or two authors, and they have had others helping to get the data. I don’t know if it is used but could you then in the beginning of methods name the helpers, and then you could tell that “we collected the leaves” and “we measured the diameter”.

One more thing that I noticed is how badly sometimes the treatments are named. Pick one name for each treatment and then use that throughout the article. Same goes for species names. It’s confusing when English and scientific names (and abbreviations) are mixed. For example, pied flycatcher, PF, Ficedula hypoleuca and F. hypoleuca.

So, now I’m in the middle of this challenge. I’ve been thinking that I will continue this (at least) until the end of 2017. So, this will be more like #457papers challenge. 🙂


© Elina Mäntylä (, 31 March 2017

2 thoughts on “The second quarter of my #365papers

  1. Pingback: The third quarter of my #365papers | From Plants to Birds

  2. Pingback: The fourth quarter of my #365papers | From Plants to Birds

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