Read previous years’ By the Numbers: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013



The number of new posts this year. Definitely a low, but some classics remain popular. The top 10:

  1. Personal academic websites for faculty & grad students: the why, what, and how
  2. How did we learn that birds migrate (and not to the moon)? A stab in the dark
  3. Beware the academic hipster (or, use what works for you) UPDATED
  4. Volunteer field techs are bad for wildlife ecology: the response
  5. How much to charge for independent consulting work
  6. The advantages of Google Scholar for early-career academics
  7. How to apply for a field job
  8. Amusing bird names: The Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler
  9. Another year of male-dominated NSERC prizes
  10. On the loss of a friend


31,000 (±)

The number of visitors to The Lab and Field. Thanks, all!



The number of countries/autonomous regions from which those visitors came. I can’t query these for individual posts, but I often wonder how many of them landed on pages about being an LGBTQ+ scientist.



Countries where there are legal impediments to being out, including but not limited to jail time and execution. And something I’ve spent a fair bit of time thinking about in the last year, for various reasons.



Days spent in the field this year. Not brilliant by my estimation, but plans are afoot for some more field work in 2018. (Including in a couple of days, hence the slightly earlier posting than usual)



New papers this year, again driven by some fantastic co-authors, and research students. High fives to everyone!



The rank of the Altmetric score of our paper on plastic accumulation on the remote Henderson Island among all papers in 2017. We knew this would be a big one, but had no idea we’d spent a week doing nothing but media from two sides of the globe.



The paper’s Altmetric score (which has increased since the list came out)


1 in 61 trillion

The odds that the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, still persists, as calculated in one of my favourite papers from 2017.



The number of papers on which I was first author. A sign of career progression, or of heavy investment in future work? Time will tell. Also, transitioning to a new job took a little bit of time. There is one book chapter, though, which started as a blog post!



The number of amazing coauthors I worked with in publishing those 2017 papers <waves!>



My Gender Gap. A marked improvement on 0.48 last year, and 0.29 in 2015, but lower than the 0.96 I had in 2014. My coauthors were 25 female and 29 male this year.



Countries / autonomous regions visited in 2017 (not counting airport stopovers): Australia, South Africa, France, Faroe Islands


ca. 50,000

Number of bird encounter records that I databased as my last big job at the RSPB. These are from ringing and resights on Gough dating back to 1955, and was the major source of my #OtherPeoplesData frustrations. I really hope something good comes out of this work, because it’s one of the accomplishments from my time there of which I’m proudest.



The number of emails sent in 2017, a 15% drop over last year. The battle continues!


>1 million

The number of avian specimens at The Natural History Museum, where I now work. A treasure trove of science, history, and the natural world.


Here’s to the successes, and struggles, of 2017, and best wishes for a safe, positive, and productive 2018!