There are quite a few different kinds of news to share today. First, I published my May blogpost in German, titled "Offene Forschung als Praxis guter Wissenschaft" (URL: wub.hypotheses.org/1292), discussing open science and why it should become part of the good scientific practice. Then, I am very happy to announce that Frederic Blum published a blog post on "Data Gathering in Times of a Pandemic: Upcycling Constenla Umaña’s Data on the Chibchan, Lencan and Misumalpam Language Families" (URL: calc.hypotheses.org/2751 in our CALC blog, which illustrates how data can be converted to our CLDF formats and nicely shows how accessible these formats are already by now. Here's the abstract:
While searching for the topic of a small research project about the linguistic history of South America, I realized that a lot of data that is crucial for assessing central arguments is not openly available, but new data is difficult to come by these days. And when it is, it is not usually presented in data format that allows for easy reuse. Guided by these thoughts, I decided to turn towards the upcycling of previously published data
Finally, a new paper appeared, titled "The uses and abuses of tree thinking in cultural evolution" (DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2020.0056 by Cara L. Evans, Simon J. Greenhill, Joseph Wats, myself, Carlos A. Botero, Russell D. Gray, and Kathryn R. Kirby. Here is the abstract:
Modern phylogenetic methods are increasingly being used to address questions about macro-level patterns in cultural evolution. These methods can illuminate the unobservable histories of cultural traits and identify the evolutionary drivers of trait change over time, but their application is not without pitfalls. Here, we outline the current scope of research in cultural tree thinking, highlighting a toolkit of best practices to navigate and avoid the pitfalls and ‘abuses' associated with their application. We emphasize two principles that support the appropriate application of phylogenetic methodologies in cross-cultural research: researchers should (1) draw on multiple lines of evidence when deciding if and which types of phylogenetic methods and models are suitable for their cross-cultural data, and (2) carefully consider how different cultural traits might have different evolutionary histories across space and time. When used appropriately phylogenetic methods can provide powerful insights into the processes of evolutionary change that have shaped the broad patterns of human history.