*****  To join INSNA, visit  *****

First: A big thanks to Barry (as I mentioned to him privately) for posting 
about my article.

Second: I hear from the twitterverse that Peter Dodds is planning to 
weight in on allometric scaling.  I googled and found a JTB paper of his 
after I 'heard' the rumor (and noted, but haven't yet looked at, his 2010 
PRL on the topic), and I think he'll have some very good things to say on 
the topic.  I will reserve further comment on that until I read what he 
has to see, but I look forward to the discussion at any rate.

Third: I want to make a couple of points about James' comment about 
missing non-physics references (and the small but cynical comment 
included with it):

1. My coauthor and I had to fight with Science a bit to include as many 
references as we did.  Indeed, the paper is 1/3 of a page longer than is 
supposed to be true for Perspectives pieces, and a bit of that comes from 
the extra references.  When commenting on citation practices, please keep 
those constraints in mind, because authors often do not have full control 
over such things when it comes to some of the 'shiny' journals (and even other 
venues).  I would prefer a neutral statement of our having missed 
citations rather than whether or not is surprising or what our motivations 
might or might not be for not having cited something.  The existing 
reference listing includes *numerous* papers by people who are not 
physicists.  That does not mean we didn't miss anything, and it is true 
we were unaware of your work, a subset of which Jim Moody kindly pointed 
to me just a day or so after the paper was published.

2. Neither my coauthor nor I are physicists.  He is a systems biologist 
and I am an applied mathematician.  So if you do want to make a point 
about someone having bad citation practices, then making a dig at 
physicists is, frankly, picking on the wrong discipline in this case.

3. The vast majority of citations to physicists in this particular article 
are pointing out things that we think they did wrong. :)  If you take a 
look at who wrote the papers making points that we liked, I think you'll 
find that most of the articles we did cite on such things were not 
written by physicists.  Obviously, that does not mean that we didn't miss 

4. Point (3) said, I'm very glad to now know about your work.  I do *not* 
purposely ignore things and have on several occasions had very long and 
very loud fights with both journals and coauthors to include more 
citations.  So, again, please just make the neutral comment that we didn't 
cite a relevant work than rather than also including the extra 
commentary on that, which I resent very deeply given the efforts I undergo 
to try to give credit where it is due.  Obviously, like everybody else, I 
will miss references---and I *want* them to be pointed to me afterwards 
(as you've done).  And I think the people on this list who know me 
personally will back me up on my sincere efforts on giving credit!

5. Thanks for agreeing with us on the scientific aspect of things.  That's 
always nice. :)

Excuse me for a bit of a rant, but the idea that one group of people 
routinely and purposely ignores giving credit where it's due and others 
don't is something I just don't buy.  I think this is rampant throughout 
science, including in the disciplines represented on this mailing list.


  Mason A. Porter
  University Lecturer (and Tutorial Fellow, Somerville College)
  Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford

  Homepage:, IM: tepid451
  "That's my new excuse, and I'm sticking to it." (Me)

SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers ( To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.