Tag Archives: Policy

US government gives research chimps endangered-species protection

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The decision will prohibit most research on captive animals. Wild and captive chimpanzees will now be treated equally under US law. Chimpanzee research in the United States may be nearly over. On 12 June, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that it is categorizing captive chimpanzees as an endangered species subject to legal […]

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* Serengeti Park disappearing

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A huge wildebeest herd migrates across the open, parched plains. Dust swirls up from the many hooves pounding the ground, and forms a haze over the landscape. The setting sun gives the scene a golden tinge. Serengeti National Park is the symbol of Africa’s abundant wildlife. The herd heading towards one of the life-giving water […]

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* Global decline of large herbivores may lead to an ’empty landscape’

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The decline of the world’s large herbivores, especially in Africa and parts of Asia, is raising the specter of an ’empty landscape’ in some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Many populations of animals such as rhinoceroses, zebras, camels, elephants and tapirs are diminishing or threatened with extinction in grasslands, savannahs, deserts and […]

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Bibliometrics: The Leiden Manifesto for research metrics

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Use these ten principles to guide research evaluation, urge Diana Hicks, Paul Wouters and colleagues. Data are increasingly used to govern science. Research evaluations that were once bespoke and performed by peers are now routine and reliant on metrics. The problem is that evaluation is now led by the data rather than by judgement. Metrics […]

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Canadians baulk at reforms to health-research agency

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Alain Beaudet says that funding reforms at Canada’s biomedical research agency are designed to increase collaboration. The biggest overhaul in the 15-year history of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) was meant to rescue biomedical researchers from the endless grant applications and Byzantine peer-review processes that had become a feature of the cash-strapped agency. […]

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US societies push back against NIH reproducibility guidelines

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Premature’ rules for preclinical research need more flexibility and greater community involvement, say scientific society leaders. Many journals have introduced checklists to comply with NIH guidelines for reproducibility in research. But some societies are not happy with the “one-size-fits-all” approach. Guidelines from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) that aim to improve the reproducibility […]

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* To save an entire species, all you need is $1. 3 million a year

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The international team of researchers includes scientists from the Max-Planck Odense Center at the University of Southern Denmark, Imperial College of London, Australia’s University of Queensland, the American Bird Conservancy, the IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, the International Species Information System, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Burak Güneralp, research assistant professor […]

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World’s whaling slaughter tallied

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The first global estimate of the number of whales killed by industrial harvesting last century reveals that nearly 3 million cetaceans were wiped out in what may have been the largest cull of any animal — in terms of total biomass — in human history. The devastation wrought on whales by twentieth-century hunting is well […]

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Online debate erupts to ask: is science broken?

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A debate this week on ways to improve the practice of science quickly spread to social media. The event at University College London, called ‘Is science broken? If so, how can we fix it?’, included claims that some dubious laboratory practices, such as tweaking statistical analyses to make results seem significant, are widespread. One suggested […]

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Experts question China’s panda survey

The number of giant pandas living in the wild has risen by a sixth over the past decade, according to a long-anticipated survey unveiled by China’s State Forestry Administration on 28 February. But experts say it is unclear if the results can be compared to previous national counts. The argument is bound to re-ignite the […]

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Clinical-trial specialist could be next FDA chief

When Peter Pitts met cardiologist Robert Califf, he was struck by two thoughts: “Red hair, red moustache,” says Pitts, who was then an associate commissioner at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “He really stood out in a crowd.” But when Califf started to talk, Pitts was impressed by how everyone else fell silent […]

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US women progress to PhD at same rate as men

The received wisdom that women are more likely than men to drop out of academia at every stage of a scientific career is now false, psychologists say — at least in the United States. An analysis of survey data finds that, since the 1990s, men and women in the country have converted their bachelor’s degrees […]

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Bigger is not better when it comes to lab size

To publish the most papers, labs should ideally have 10 to 15 members, according to a much-discussed study in Peer J PrePrints. Adding more and more graduate students and postdocs beyond that number does not guarantee a continued rise in high-impact papers, the study found, partly because the extra workers tend to be much less […]

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US precision-medicine proposal sparks questions

During his State of the Union address to Congress on 20 January, President Barack Obama announced a programme called the Precision Medicine Initiative. “I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine —  one that delivers the right treatment at the right time,” he said. […]

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* Wolf cull will not save threatened Canadian caribou

Boreal caribou populations have declined as industrial activity in Canada’s boreal forest has increased. Since 2005, the Canadian government has shot nearly 1,000 wolves to protect a herd of threatened boreal caribou in the forests of Alberta, Canada. But a recent study suggests that this approach has limited benefit. It is enough to keep the […]

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* US lawmakers seek to revamp biomedical research

Days after the White House announced a new precision-medicine initiative, an influential group of US lawmakers has released its own wish list for biomedical research. On 27 January, several members of the House of Representatives released the first draft of their long-anticipated proposal to speed the translation of research into medicine. The effort, known as […]

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* The focus on bibliometrics makes papers less useful

How do we recognize a good scientist? There is an entire industry — bibliometrics — that would have us believe that it is easy: count journal articles, sort them according to the impact factors of the journals, and count all the citations. Science managers and politicians seem especially fond of such ways to assess ‘scientific […]

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US budget deal gives small increases to research

The measure, passed by the House on 11 December and by the Senate on 13 December, also includes an additional $5.2 billion in aid and research funds for the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. US President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law, finalizing the budget for US agencies through 30 September […]

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Japanese scientist resigns as ‘STAP’ stem-cell method fails

A RIKEN team announced on 19 December that it was unable to reproduce Obokata’s controversial results. Haruko Obokata, the stem-cell biologist whose papers caused a sensation earlier this year before being retracted, has resigned from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan. Her emotional resignation letter was posted on RIKEN’s website on 19 […]

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Peer review — reviewed

Top medical journals filter out poor papers but often reject future citation champions. Most scientists have horror stories to tell about how a journal brutally rejected their landmark paper. Now researchers have taken a more rigorous approach to evaluating peer review, by tracking the fate of more than 1,000 papers that were submitted ten years […]

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Study points to press releases as sources of hype

Scientists, press officers and journalists online are pointing fingers in light of a paper that traces the origins of exaggerated claims in health news. Researchers love to blame the news media when reports about science are misleading or even wrong. But a December study making the rounds online suggests that much of the hype and […]

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Publishing: The peer-review scam

Most journal editors know how much effort it takes to persuade busy researchers to review a paper. That is why the editor of The Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry was puzzled by the reviews for manuscripts by one author — Hyung-In Moon, a medicinal-plant researcher then at Dongguk University in Gyeongju, South Korea. […]

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Key Galapagos research station in trouble

For more than half a century, the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) has supported a thriving research station in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. Scientists at the station have helped to bring the iconic Galapagos tortoise back from the brink of extinction and to eradicate invasive goats from Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago. But that […]

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US government cracks down on clinical-trials reporting

Hiding negative results and harmful side effects that occur in clinical trials would become harder in the United States under regulations proposed on 19 November by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One proposal would require companies seeking the FDA’s approval of a new drug or therapy […]

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Fear and caring are what’s at the core of divisive wolf debate

To hunt or not hunt wolves can’t be quantified as simply as men vs. women, hunters vs. anti-hunters, Democrats vs. Republicans or city vs. rural. What’s truly fueling the divisive debate is fear of wolves or the urge to care for canis lupis. The social dynamics at play and potential options for establishing common ground […]

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European Commission scraps chief scientific adviser post

Former president José Manuel Barroso had pledged in late 2009 to create the post. It was not filled until two years later, when Anne Glover, a molecular and cell biologist who was then CSA of Scotland, was appointed. Glover’s term of office as CSA for Europe ended last month, along with that of the rest […]

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China opens translational medicine centre in Shanghai

Over the past decade, China has poured money into research, especially in the biomedical sciences. But as the nation’s health-care costs have risen in the past few years, critics have argued that the investment has not paid off. A group of researchers and government officials now hopes to improve those returns with the official opening […]

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Divide and rule: Raven politics

Thomas Bugnyar and his team have been studying the behavior of approximately 300 wild ravens in the Northern Austrian Alps for years. They observed that ravens slowly build alliances through affiliative interactions such as grooming and playing. However, they also observed that these affiliative interactions were regularly interrupted by a third individual. Although in about […]

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Investments boost neurotechnology career prospects

The past few years have seen some extraordinary activity in the neuroscience field. High-profile advances, from the Allen Brain Atlas to the Brainbow mouse, have injected an air of excitement into the study of the brain—an atmosphere that has been amplified by big funding initiatives in the United   States and abroad. For budding neuroscientists, […]

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Review rewards

How many manuscripts is it reasonable for a scientist to peer review in a year? Many researchers would estimate two or three dozen; Malcolm Jobling, a fish biologist at the University of Tromsø in Norway, says that he has racked up more than 125 already this year. How do we know? A welcome movement is […]

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