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

Concept: Research and development


Portraying high-throughput genomics research as a wild frontier, Andrea Bild and colleagues use caricatures to highlight common pitfalls in genomic research and provide recommendations for navigating this terrain.

Concepts: Bioinformatics, Genome, Genomics, Research and development


Public confidence in genetically modified (GM) crop studies is tenuous at best in many countries, including those of the European Union in particular. A lack of information about the effects of ties between academic research and industry might stretch this confidence to the breaking point. We therefore performed an analysis on a large set of research articles (n = 672) focusing on the efficacy or durability of GM Bt crops and ties between the researchers carrying out these studies and the GM crop industry. We found that ties between researchers and the GM crop industry were common, with 40% of the articles considered displaying conflicts of interest (COI). In particular, we found that, compared to the absence of COI, the presence of a COI was associated with a 50% higher frequency of outcomes favorable to the interests of the GM crop company. Using our large dataset, we were able to propose possible direct and indirect mechanisms behind this statistical association. They might notably include changes of authorship or funding statements after the results of a study have been obtained and a choice in the topics studied driven by industrial priorities.

Concepts: Scientific method, Statistics, European Union, Research, English language, Cultural studies, Research and development


How should funding agencies enable researchers to explore high-risk but potentially high-reward science? One model that appears to work is the NSF-funded synthesis center, an incubator for community-led, innovative science.

Concepts: Scientific method, Research, Research and development


Emilie Alirol and colleagues discuss the development of new treatments for gonorrhea.

Concepts: Research, Research and development


In a concluding session of the workshop, the participants developed a list of 115 research and outreach needs, outlining the top 5-7 needs in each of 8 areas (Table). For complete information, including presenter details and abstracts, visit the workshop website at

Concepts: Developed country, Research and development, Array data structure


The choice of an efficient document preparation system is an important decision for any academic researcher. To assist the research community, we report a software usability study in which 40 researchers across different disciplines prepared scholarly texts with either Microsoft Word or LaTeX. The probe texts included simple continuous text, text with tables and subheadings, and complex text with several mathematical equations. We show that LaTeX users were slower than Word users, wrote less text in the same amount of time, and produced more typesetting, orthographical, grammatical, and formatting errors. On most measures, expert LaTeX users performed even worse than novice Word users. LaTeX users, however, more often report enjoying using their respective software. We conclude that even experienced LaTeX users may suffer a loss in productivity when LaTeX is used, relative to other document preparation systems. Individuals, institutions, and journals should carefully consider the ramifications of this finding when choosing document preparation strategies, or requiring them of authors.

Concepts: Research, Microsoft Word, Microsoft, Research and development, Word processor, Microsoft Office, Text editor


Rare diseases are a global public health concern, affecting an estimated 350 million individuals. Only 5% of approximately 7000 known rare diseases have a treatment, and only about half have a patient advocacy organization. Biopharmaceutical companies face complex challenges in developing treatments for rare diseases. Patient advocacy organizations may play a major role by positively influencing research and development, clinical trials, and regulations. Thus, collaboration among patient advocacy organizations and industry is essential to bring new therapeutics to patients.

Concepts: Health care, Pharmacology, Medicine, Public health, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Patient, Research and development


The prominence of sedentary behavior research in health science has grown rapidly. With this growth there is increasing urgency for clear, common and accepted terminology and definitions. Such standardization is difficult to achieve, especially across multi-disciplinary researchers, practitioners, and industries. The Sedentary Behavior Research Network (SBRN) undertook a Terminology Consensus Project to address this need.

Concepts: Health care, Scientific method, Health, Science, Research, Research and development, International Organization for Standardization


A common justification for high cancer drug prices is the sizable research and development (R&D) outlay necessary to bring a drug to the US market. A recent estimate of R&D spending is $2.7 billion (2017 US dollars). However, this analysis lacks transparency and independent replication.

Concepts: Scientific method, Economics, Research, Research and development


The US continues to lead the world in research and development (R&D) expenditures, but there is concern that stagnation in federal support for biomedical research in the US could undermine the leading role the US has played in biomedical and clinical research discoveries. As a readout of research output in the US compared with other countries, assessment of original research articles published by US-based authors in ten clinical and basic science journals during 2000 to 2015 showed a steady decline of articles in high-ranking journals or no significant change in mid-ranking journals. In contrast, publication output originating from China-based investigators, in both high- and mid-ranking journals, has steadily increased commensurate with significant growth in R&D expenditures. These observations support the current concerns of stagnant and year-to-year uncertainty in US federal funding of biomedical research.

Concepts: Scientific method, Research, Research and development, Orphan drug, Health research, Original research