Monday, 22 September 2014

Nasa robotic probe slips into orbit around Mars

Nasa robotic probe slips into orbit around Mars

 A Nasa
robotic spacecraft has ended a 10-month journey to put itself into
orbit around Mars and begin a hunt for the planet’s lost water.
After traveling 71 million km, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile
Evolution, or Maven, spacecraft fired its six rocket thrusters, trimming
its speed from 20,600 km/h to 16,093 km/h.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), initiated by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) together with a group of editors and publishers of scholarly journals, recognizes the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scientific research are evaluated. The group met in December 2012 during the ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco and subsequently circulated a draft declaration among various stakeholders.

Friday, 5 September 2014

September packed with events to celebrate CERN's 60th | CERN

September packed with events to celebrate CERN's 60th | CERN

On 29 September 1954, the CERN Convention entered into force, officially establishing the European Organization for Nuclear Research with 12 European member states. Now the world's biggest particle physics laboratory, CERN is celebrating “60 years of science for peace” with an official ceremony and several public events taking place throughout September.

Pythagoras would have approved of Dublin’s huge harp

Pythagoras would have approved of Dublin’s huge harp



The Samuel Beckett Bridge, which spans the Liffey, was designed by Santiago Calatrava and opened in 2009. It is 120m in length and 48m high, and it swings open to allow ships to pass up and down the river. The bridge has 31 cable stays to support it. They resemble the strings of a great harp, a symbol of Ireland. One can imagine the cables being plucked by some giant to produce a melody.

In fact, this is what will happen next Saturday at an event to mark the opening of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival. Structures such as the bridge have natural frequencies of oscillation or “normal modes”. When struck at different points, various tones are produced. Bristol-born composer Tom Lane has written a musical piece using the tones produced when the heavy stays are hammered into oscillation.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Scientists criticise new “open access” journal which limits research-sharing with copyright

Restrictive copyright licenses and expensive submission fees have led to a significant number of scientists to criticise Science Advances, a new journal due to launch next year, for failing to live up to its open access principles. So says Fiona Rutherford in the New Statesman. One hundred and fifteen scientists have signed an open letter to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the world’s most prestigious scientific societies and publisher of the journal Science, expressing concerns over the launch of a new scientific journal, Science Advances. The AAAS describes Science Advances as open access, a term used to describe free online access to research for members of the public - but the scientists who have signed the open letter say they are "deeply concerned" with the specifics of its model, claiming it could stifle the sharing of scientific knowledge. The journal, expected to debut in 2015, asks scientists for up to $5,500 (roughly £3,300) to publish their research. Although most open access journals are supported by charging a similar article processing fee, Science Advances has an additional charge of $1,500 for articles more than ten pages long. Leading open access journals, such as PeerJ, the BMC series and Plos One, do not have such surcharges. Studies in Science Advances will also be published under a Creative Commons license which prohibits sharing by any commercial entity, which critics consider means that the journal is not truly open access.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Crowd-Sourced Peer Review: Substitute or supplement for the current outdated system?

Crowd-Sourced Peer Review: Substitute or supplement for the current outdated system?

The problem with peer review today is that there is so much research being produced that there are not enough experts with enough time to peer-review it all. As we look to address this problem, issues of standards and hierarchy remain unsolved. Stevan Harnad wonders whether crowd-sourced peer review could match, exceed, or come close to the benchmark of the current system. He predicts crowdsourcing will indeed be able to provide a supplement to the classical system, hopefully improving efficiency and accuracy, but not a substitute for it.