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Less prestigious journals publishing greater share of high-impact papers

The world of academic publishing is an oligarchy. Not only are the vast majority of highly cited papers authored by an elite 1% of scientists, but a small group of elite journals also get the lion’s share of citations and media attention. But this rarified world is becoming more egalitarian, according to a study released 9 October by the team that develops Google Scholar, the free literature search engine now…

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Want a grant? First review someone else’s proposal

After 32 years as a program officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF), George Hazelrigg knows the rules governing peer review, especially the one that says researchers can’t be both an applicant and a reviewer in the same funding competition. Last year, however, he got permission to throw the rules out the window. His experiment, aimed at easing the strain on NSF staff and reviewers produced by a burgeoning number…

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New study profiles the biomedical consortia landscape

Of the 369 consortia that we researched, the majority were focused on creating resources that advance research for a specific medical condition, and most research being performed by AD, diabetes, and cancer consortia was focused on biomarker development. This goal is aligned with current trends in the pharmaceutical industry, which is focused increasingly on molecularly targeted therapies. However, balancing proprietary strategy with risk reduction and shared expertise becomes a challenge…

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How much did your university pay for your journals?

For many purchases, price comparisons are a few mouse clicks away. Not for academic journals. Universities buy access to most of their subscription journals through large bundled packages, much like home cable subscriptions that include hundreds of TV stations. But whereas cable TV providers largely stick to advertised prices, universities negotiate with academic publishing companies behind closed doors, and those deals usually come with nondisclosure agreements that keep the bundled…

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Submissions Drop at World’s Largest Open-Access Journal

The number of papers published by the world’s largest open-access journal, PLOS ONE, has plummeted over the past few months after rising fairly steadily for years, notes a scholarly publishing blogger. Phil Davis suggests the closely watched PLOS ONE may have become a less attractive option for scientists as its impact factor has fallen and other open-access publishers have come on the scene. Founded 14 years ago, the Public Library…

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Science Funding and Short-Term Economic Activity

The geographic distribution of vendor and subaward expenditures. Source: Weinberg/Science. There is considerable interest among policy-makers in documenting short-term effects of science funding. A multi-year scientific journey that leads to long-term fruits of research, such as a moon landing, is more tangible if there is visible nearer term activity, such as the presence of astronauts. Yet systematic data on such activities have not heretofore existed. The only source of information…

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At House Science Panel Hearing, Sarcasm Rules

It was supposed to be a chance for legislators to discuss the Obama administration’s 2015 federal budget with presidential science adviser John Holdren. But sarcasm and political trash-talking overrode serious debate at Wednesday’s hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Even in a Congress noted for its polarization and lack of comity, members of the panel seemed more interested in name-calling than numbers. As a…

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Science reviews FY2015 White House budget proposal

President Barack Obama on Tuesday released a $3.901 trillion budget request to Congress, including proposals for a host of federal research agencies. The unveiling is just the beginning of the annual budget process; Congress will now chew on the proposal, and is likely to ignore many of the White House’s suggestions. Still, the budget request offers insight into the White House’s research priorities, and can play an important role in…

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