Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Elsevier Is Becoming a Data Company. Should Universities Be Wary?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Paul Basken
August 15, 2017

Like many big research institutions, the University of Florida pays the publishing giant Elsevier millions of dollars a year so its scientists can read the articles they helped create.

Payments like that have made Elsevier an industry monolith; they have also made the company a popular target of faculty protests and boycotts.
At an institutional level, "there’s not a lot of leverage" to hold down prices, concedes Florida’s library dean, Judith C. Russell. That’s because Elsevier publishes many influential titles that faculty also prize as markers of reputational success, she said.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Journal Pulls Paper That Refers to Surgeons as Only Men

STAT News Morning Rounds
Megan Thielking
July 25, 2017

The editors of Annals of Surgery have retracted a new paper on the “modern surgeon” after it was pointed out the paper only referred to surgeons with male pronouns. The piece — "Modern Surgeon: Still a Master of His Trade or Just an Operator of Medical Equipment?" —was actually a copy of a speech from Dr. Marek Krawczyk, the president of the European Surgical Association. As critics of the piece pointed out, the choice of language matters to the perception of women in the field and doesn’t reflect their important work. “Unfortunately, our own editorial review did not catch the singular use of male pronouns to refer to surgeons,” the journal’s editors said in a statement.

The incident also points to another issue: the gender diversity of journal editorial boards. A 2008 analysis found that fewer than 10 percent of the members of the Annals of Surgery editorial board each year were women, with only slightly more diversity seen in other major medical journals. That’s improved in the years since — now, women make up about 20 percent of the Annals of Surgery editorial board.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New Report Concludes Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Help Advance National Health, Prosperity and Defense

National Science Foundation News Release
July 18, 2017


At the request of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has produced a report, "The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities." The report concludes that social, behavioral and economic sciences (SBE) further NSF's mission to advance U.S. health, prosperity, welfare and defense.
"Nearly every major challenge the United States faces -- from alleviating unemployment to protecting itself from terrorism -- requires understanding the causes and consequences of people's behavior," the report says.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

House Republicans Counter Trump on University Research Costs

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Paul Basken
July 12, 2017

House Republicans issued a fiscal 2018 budget plan on Wednesday that rejects the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate or sharply cut so-called indirect-cost payments to universities for medical research.
The plan, offered by Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the National Institutes of Health, makes clear that indirect-cost payments on NIH grants should continue "to the same extent and in the same manner" as has existed.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Europe's Next Big Science-Funding Programme Urged to Double Its Budget

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Paul Basken
July 4, 2017


Midway through the European Union’s sprawling 7-year, €75-billion (US$85-billion) research-funding programme known as Horizon 2020 (H2020), scientists are already angling for more money and less red tape in its successor.
So researchers are delighted with an influential 3 July report that urges the EU to double the budget of its next funding scheme, called Framework Programme Nine (FP9), which is due to launch in 2021. The report says that FP9’s structure should be largely similar to that of H2020, but with less bureaucracy, and suggests that it includes a few major ‘moonshot’ missions in areas such as energy and information technology. 
Read More…

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A New Theory on How Researchers Can Solve the Reproducibility Crisis: Do the Math

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Paul Basken
June 28, 2017

From the beginning, it seemed like a difficult prediction.

In an article published last October in Nature, three researchers affiliated with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City said they had crunched the numbers and concluded that humans will never consistently live much beyond 115 years.

"From now on, this is it," one of the three authors, Jan Vijg, a professor of genetics at Albert Einstein, told The New York Times one of several major news outlets that helped promote the sobering news. "Humans will never get older than 115."

Read More…

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Universities Are Getting a Lesson in the Value of Early Training to Apply for Grants

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Paul Basken
June 27, 2017

As a doctoral student at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in the 1980s, James L. Olds had an adviser who taught him how to apply for federal grants by including him directly in the process.

"I was very lucky" to have that comparative advantage, said Mr. Olds, whose early training in seeking grant support furthered his subsequent progress to become a college professor and, now, head of the biological-sciences directorate at the National Science Foundation.
But many other research professors at American universities don’t provide their graduate students the same training that his adviser did.

Read More…