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You are currently viewing all posts published on November 2015

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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Breakthrough Prize Looks to Stars to Shine on Science

Movie stars. Red carpet. Awards. It’s a familiar script. Except that the event here on Sunday night was far from New York and Hollywood, and the boldfaced names were gathered not to celebrate movies or music, but life sciences, physics and mathematics. The idea behind the Breakthrough Prize is that if scientists are viewed as celebrities — as cool as movie and rock stars — then more young students will…

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Journal impact factors ‘no longer credible’

Trickery by editors to boost their journal impact factor means that the widely used metric “has now lost most of its credibility”, according to Research Policy journal. With many editors now engaged in “ingenious ways” of boosting their impact factor, “one of the main bastions holding back the growing scourge of research misconduct” has been “breached”, the publication warns in an editorial. Click here to read more from this November…

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New AI program aims to improve how we search through science

When it comes to the body of scientific literature in existence, the world is suffering from information overload. There are now more than 100 million academic papers online and that number is estimated to be growing at a rate of nearly 5,000 new articles each day. According to one study, only half of those papers are being read by anyone other than the author and the editors of whatever journal…

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Academic Publishing Can’t Remain Such a Great Business

Publishers of academic journals have a great thing going. They generally don’t pay for the articles they publish, or for the primary editing and peer reviewing essential to preparing them for publication (they do fork over some money for copy editing). Most of this gratis labor is performed by employees of academic institutions. Those institutions, along with government agencies and foundations, also fund all the research that these journal articles…

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Book Review: ‘Ending Medical Reversal’ Laments Flip-Flopping

“Ending Medical Reversal” is a subtly subversive book in need of a considerably snappier title. “OOPS!” perhaps, or “Are You Kidding Me?” This last was the reaction of a diabetic patient described by the authors who, after years spent dutifully following the most spartan of diets in order to keep his blood sugar in check, just learned he needn’t have bothered. The goal his doctor (and doctors everywhere) were routinely…

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