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You are currently viewing all posts published in 2015

Cancer is different in the developing world

In the United States the median age at which colon cancer strikes is 69 for men and 73 for women. In Chad the average life expectancy at birth is about 50. Children who survive childbirth — and then malnutrition and diarrhea — are likely to die of pneumonia, tuberculosis, influenza, malaria, AIDS or even traffic accidents long before their cells accumulate the mutations that cause colon cancer. In fact, cancers…

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Are science rock stars good for science?

We study the extent to which eminent scientists shape the vitality of their fields by examining entry rates into the fields of 452 academic life scientists who pass away while at the peak of their scientific abilities. Key to our analyses is a novel way to delineate boundaries around scientific fields by appealing solely to intellectual linkages between scientists and their publications, rather than collaboration or co-citation patterns. Consistent with…

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When women stopped coding

Mark Zuckerberg. Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Most of the big names in technology are men. But a lot of computing pioneers, the ones who programmed the first digital computers, were women. And for decades, the number of women in computer science was growing. But in 1984, something changed. The number of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged. Click here to listen to this NPR podcast from December 17,…

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Too much open access is in the dark

One of the inconvenient truths that the OA movement prefers not to discuss is the fact that a large amount of the content in the circa 4,125 institutional repositories created by research institutions in order to provide open access to their research output is not actually freely available but on “dark deposit”, or otherwise inaccessible. In other words, it is not open access. There are several reasons for this. First,…

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Climate change opinions not budging much

According to a recent New York Times/CBS news poll, “a solid majority of Americans say the United States should join an international treaty to limit the impact of global warming.” While this may be encouraging news, other survey data cited in this article shows just how stubborn American public opinion has been over the last 20-plus years on the issue of climate change. For instance, when asked whether global warming…

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The assault on federally supported science

Distrust of government has long focused on economic and cultural matters, with conservative luminaries from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan arguing that it should be kept out of private spheres ranging from the bedroom to the boardroom. This sentiment generally has not extended to the realm of science, however. Since federally supported science helped win World War II and put astronauts on the moon, there has been strong bipartisan support…

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In Australia, publications to become less important when funding research

The Turnbull government is set to overhaul the way university research is funded by dramatically downgrading the importance of publishing articles in little-read academic journals. Prime Minister Turnbull wants to end the “publish or perish” culture in which academics are pressured to focus on constant publishing rather than producing work with commercial and community benefit. In 2013, Australia ranked last in the developed world on the proportion of businesses which…

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Journal Impact Factor Shapes Scientists’ Reward Signal in the Prospect of Publication

The incentive structure of a scientist’s life is increasingly mimicking economic principles. While intensely criticized, the journal impact factor (JIF) has taken a role as the new currency for scientists. Successful goal-directed behavior in academia thus requires knowledge about the JIF. Using functional neuroimaging we examined how the JIF, as a powerful incentive in academia, has shaped the behavior of scientists and the reward signal in the striatum. We demonstrate…

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