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Harvard Law Library Readies Trove of Decisions for Digital Age

Shelves of law books are an august symbol of legal practice, and no place, save the Library of Congress, can match the collection at Harvard’s Law School Library. Its trove includes nearly every state, federal, territorial and tribal judicial decision since colonial times — a priceless potential resource for everyone from legal scholars to defense lawyers trying to challenge a criminal conviction. Now, in a digital-age sacrifice intended to serve…

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Are Big Cities Still A Primary Engine For Scientific Innovation?

It used to be that if you wanted to be an inventor or a scientist, it helped to be around other inventors and scientists, which could mean working at one of a handful of elite universities in a big metro area. New research questions whether big cities are still a primary engine for innovation. NPR’s social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam sat down with our colleague David Greene to explain what…

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Do Nobel Laureates Create Prize-Winning Networks?

Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine who received the Prize between 1969 and 2011 are compared to a matched group of scientists to examine productivity, impact, coauthorship and international collaboration patterns embedded within research networks. After matching for research domain, h-index, and year of first of publication, we compare bibliometric statistics and network measures. We find that the Laureates produce fewer papers but with higher average citations. The Laureates also…

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Cellular ‘Cheaters’ Give Rise to Cancer

Maybe it was in “some warm little pond,” Charles Darwin speculated in 1871, that life on Earth began. A few simple chemicals sloshed together and formed complex molecules. These, over great stretches of time, joined in various combinations, eventually giving rise to the first living cell: a self-sustaining bag of chemistry capable of dividing and spawning copies of itself. While scientists still debate the specifics, most subscribe to some version…

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Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science

The past half-century has witnessed a dramatic increase in the scale and complexity of scientific research. The growing scale of science has been accompanied by a shift toward collaborative research, referred to as “team science.” Scientific research is increasingly conducted by small teams and larger groups rather than individual investigators, but the challenges of collaboration can slow these teams’ progress in achieving their scientific goals. How does a team-based approach…

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Science collaboration built from the ground up

Whether it’s in the daily stream of students through McQuinn Atrium, the chance conversations between scientists in its hallways or the postdoctoral researchers in the Catalyst Café, the Bond LSC has created a physical environment in which it’s difficult for occupants not to interact. “This place is intended to be a coordinated organism, not a hotel for good scientists,” says Jack Schultz, director of the Bond LSC since 2007. “It’s…

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Doing science communication right

In mid-November, the National Academy of Sciences hosted its latest Keck Futures Initiative conference—a periodic meeting of scholars from across the science spectrum (with funding support from the WM Keck Foundation). The purpose of these meetings is to break down barriers, create an impetus for greater collaboration, and stimulate discovery through the pursuit of bold, new ideas. This is science communication done right. I was privileged to take part in…

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PLOS drops: Is open data to blame?

Editor’s note: A December 2, 2014 Scholarly Kitchen article describes how the number of papers published by PLOS ONE dropped off earlier this year. Several possible causes are discussed. This particular explanation is explored in more detail—the open data requirement that went into effect at PLOS ONE on March 1st. Source: Scholarly Kitchen The mantra of the nascent open-data movement — that scientists should share online all data underlying their…

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