Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Basic research


To create an accurate, low-cost optomechanical model eye for investigation of refractive errors in clinical and basic research studies.

Concepts: Refraction, Research, Visual acuity, Basic research


We here propose the implementation of a simple and effective method to enhance the quality of basic and preclinical academic research: critical incident reporting (CIR). CIR has become a standard in clinical medicine but to our knowledge has never been implemented in the context of academic basic research. We provide a simple, free, open-source software tool for implementing a CIR system in research groups, laboratories, or large institutions (LabCIRS). LabCIRS was developed, tested, and implemented in our multidisciplinary and multiprofessional neuroscience research department. It is accepted by all members of the department, has led to the emergence of a mature error culture, and has made the laboratory a safer and more communicative environment. Initial concerns that implementation of such a measure might lead to a “surveillance culture” that would stifle scientific creativity turned out to be unfounded.

Concepts: Scientific method, Science, Research, Experiment, Implementation, Innovation, Basic research, Applied research


Drosophila suzukii Matsumura (Spotted Wing Drosophila) has recently become a serious pest of a wide variety of fruit crops in the U.S. as well as in Europe, leading to substantial yearly crop losses. To enable basic and applied research of this important pest, we sequenced the D. suzukii genome to obtain a high quality reference sequence. Here we discuss the basic properties of the genome and transcriptome, and describe patterns of genome evolution in D. suzukii and its close relatives. Our analyses and genome annotations are presented in a web portal, SpottedWingFlyBase, to facilitate public access.

Concepts: Scientific method, Agriculture, Insect, Research, Sequence, Crop, Basic research, Applied research


The increase in annual global investment in biomedical research–reaching US$240 billion in 2010–has resulted in important health dividends for patients and the public. However, much research does not lead to worthwhile achievements, partly because some studies are done to improve understanding of basic mechanisms that might not have relevance for human health. Additionally, good research ideas often do not yield the anticipated results. As long as the way in which these ideas are prioritised for research is transparent and warranted, these disappointments should not be deemed wasteful; they are simply an inevitable feature of the way science works. However, some sources of waste cannot be justified. In this report, we discuss how avoidable waste can be considered when research priorities are set. We have four recommendations. First, ways to improve the yield from basic research should be investigated. Second, the transparency of processes by which funders prioritise important uncertainties should be increased, making clear how they take account of the needs of potential users of research. Third, investment in additional research should always be preceded by systematic assessment of existing evidence. Fourth, sources of information about research that is in progress should be strengthened and developed and used by researchers. Research funders have primary responsibility for reductions in waste resulting from decisions about what research to do.

Concepts: Health, Research, Recycling, Waste, Transparency and translucency, Basic research, Applied research


PLOS Biology’s “Research Matters” is a new article series in which active scientists engage with the public about why basic research in their field matters. Research Matters will bridge the gap between researchers and the public by explaining how basic research positively impacts public health, society, life, and the environment.

Concepts: Life, Ecology, Natural environment, Science, Research, Basic research


Trees and forests provide a wide variety of ecosystem services in addition to timber, food, and other provisioning services. New approaches to pest and disease management are needed that take into account these multiple services and the different stakeholders they benefit, as well as the likelihood of greater threats in the future resulting from globalization and climate change. These considerations will affect priorities for both basic and applied research and how trade and phytosanitary regulations are formulated.

Concepts: Climate, Research, Ecosystem, Wood, International trade, Research and development, Basic research, Applied research


Worldwide, plant viruses cause serious reductions in marketable crop yield and in some cases even plant death. In most cases, the most effective way to control virus diseases is through genetically controlled resistance. However, developing virus-resistant (VR) crops through traditional breeding can take many years, and in some cases is not even possible. Because of this, the demonstration of the first VR transgenic plants in 1985 generated much attention. This seminal report served as an inflection point for research in both basic and applied plant pathology, the results of which have dramatically changed both basic research and in a few cases, commercial crop production. The typical review article on this topic has focused on only basic or only applied research results stemming from this seminal discovery. This can make it difficult for the reader to appreciate the full impact of research on transgenic virus resistance, and the contributions from fundamental research that led to translational applications of this technology. In this review, we take a global view of this topic highlighting the significant changes to both basic and applied plant pathology research and commercial food production that have accumulated in the last 30 plus years. We present these milestones in the historical context of some of the scientific, economic, and environmental drivers for developing specific VR crops. The intent of this review is to provide a single document that adequately records the significant accomplishments of researchers in both basic and applied plant pathology research on this topic and how they relate to each other. We hope this review therefore serves as both an instructional tool for students new to the topic, as well as a source of conversation and discussion for how the technology of engineered virus resistance could be applied in the future.

Concepts: Life, Virus, Academic publishing, Research, Crops, Research and development, Basic research, Applied research


The MAQC/SEQC consortium has recently compiled a key benchmark that can serve for testing the latest developments in analysis tools for microarray and RNA-seq expression profiling. Such objective benchmarks are required for basic and applied research, and can be critical for clinical and regulatory outcomes. Going beyond the first comparisons presented in the original SEQC study, we here present extended benchmarks including effect strengths typical of common experiments.

Concepts: Scientific method, Research, DNA microarray, Microarrays, Basic research, Applied research


This review targets emotional intelligence (EI) in sport and physical activity. We systematically review the available literature and offer a sound theoretical integration of differing EI perspectives (the tripartite model of EI) before considering applied practice in the form of EI training. Our review identified 36 studies assessing EI in an athletic or physical activity context. EI has most often been conceptualized as a trait. In the context of sport performance, we found that EI relates to emotions, physiological stress responses, successful psychological skill usage, and more successful athletic performance. In the context of physical activity, we found that trait EI relates to physical activity levels and positive attitudes toward physical activity. There was a shortage of research into the EI of coaches, officials, and spectators, non-adult samples, and longitudinal and experimental methods. The tripartite model proposes that EI operates on three levels - knowledge, ability, and trait - and predicts an interplay between the different levels of EI. We present this framework as a promising alternative to trait and ability EI conceptualizations that can guide applied research and professional practice. Further research into EI training, measurement validation and cultural diversity is recommended.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Research, Emotion, Research and development, Emotional intelligence, Basic research, Applied research


This article introduces the Community Health Applied Research Network (CHARN), a practice-based research network of community health centers (CHCs). Established by the Health Resources and Services Administration in 2010, CHARN is a network of 4 community research nodes, each with multiple affiliated CHCs and an academic center. The four nodes (18 individual CHCs and 4 academic partners in 9 states) are supported by a data coordinating center. Here we provide case studies detailing how CHARN is building research infrastructure and capacity in CHCs, with a particular focus on how community practice-academic partnerships were facilitated by the CHARN structure. The examples provided by the CHARN nodes include many of the building blocks of research capacity: communication capacity and “matchmaking” between providers and researchers; technology transfer; research methods tailored to community practice settings; and community institutional review board infrastructure to enable community oversight. We draw lessons learned from these case studies that we hope will serve as examples for other networks, with special relevance for community-based networks seeking to build research infrastructure in primary care settings.

Concepts: Scientific method, Research, Innovation, Basic research, Applied research