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

Concept: Research


Open science describes the practice of carrying out scientific research in a completely transparent manner, and making the results of that research available to everyone. Isn’t that just ‘science’?

Concepts: Scientific method, Mathematics, Epistemology, Science, Research


The growth in scientific production may threaten the capacity for the scientific community to handle the ever-increasing demand for peer review of scientific publications. There is little evidence regarding the sustainability of the peer-review system and how the scientific community copes with the burden it poses. We used mathematical modeling to estimate the overall quantitative annual demand for peer review and the supply in biomedical research. The modeling was informed by empirical data from various sources in the biomedical domain, including all articles indexed at MEDLINE. We found that for 2015, across a range of scenarios, the supply exceeded by 15% to 249% the demand for reviewers and reviews. However, 20% of the researchers performed 69% to 94% of the reviews. Among researchers actually contributing to peer review, 70% dedicated 1% or less of their research work-time to peer review while 5% dedicated 13% or more of it. An estimated 63.4 million hours were devoted to peer review in 2015, among which 18.9 million hours were provided by the top 5% contributing reviewers. Our results support that the system is sustainable in terms of volume but emphasizes a considerable imbalance in the distribution of the peer-review effort across the scientific community. Finally, various individual interactions between authors, editors and reviewers may reduce to some extent the number of reviewers who are available to editors at any point.

Concepts: Scientific method, Mathematics, Academic publishing, Science, Research, Peer review, Review, Scientific community


On August 9th 2012, we published an original research article in Scientific Reports, concluding that artificial radionuclides released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant exerted genetically and physiologically adverse effects on the pale grass blue butterfly Zizeeria maha in the Fukushima area. Immediately following publication, many questions and comments were generated from all over the world. Here, we have clarified points made in the original paper and answered questions posed by the readers.

Concepts: Chernobyl disaster, Academic publishing, Research, Publishing, Nuclear power, Nuclear safety, Three Mile Island accident, Lycaenidae


ABSTRACT A review of the United States Office of Research Integrity annual reports identified 228 individuals who have committed misconduct, of which 94% involved fraud. Analysis of the data by career stage and gender revealed that misconduct occurred across the entire career spectrum from trainee to senior scientist and that two-thirds of the individuals found to have committed misconduct were male. This exceeds the overall proportion of males among life science trainees and faculty. These observations underscore the need for additional efforts to understand scientific misconduct and to ensure the responsible conduct of research. IMPORTANCE As many of humanity’s greatest problems require scientific solutions, it is critical for the scientific enterprise to function optimally. Misconduct threatens the scientific enterprise by undermining trust in the validity of scientific findings. We have examined specific demographic characteristics of individuals found to have committed research misconduct in the life sciences. Our finding that misconduct occurs across all stages of career development suggests that attention to ethical aspects of the conduct of science should not be limited to those in training. The observation that males are overrepresented among those who commit misconduct implies a gender difference that needs to be better understood in any effort to promote research integrity.

Concepts: Scientific method, Biology, Life, Gender, Science, Research, Nature, Scientific misconduct


First impressions based on facial appearance predict many important social outcomes. We investigated whether such impressions also influence the communication of scientific findings to lay audiences, a process that shapes public beliefs, opinion, and policy. First, we investigated the traits that engender interest in a scientist’s work, and those that create the impression of a “good scientist” who does high-quality research. Apparent competence and morality were positively related to both interest and quality judgments, whereas attractiveness boosted interest but decreased perceived quality. Next, we had members of the public choose real science news stories to read or watch and found that people were more likely to choose items that were paired with “interesting-looking” scientists, especially when selecting video-based communications. Finally, we had people read real science news items and found that the research was judged to be of higher quality when paired with researchers who look like “good scientists.” Our findings offer insights into the social psychology of science, and indicate a source of bias in the dissemination of scientific findings to broader society.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Sociology, Science, Research, Society, Scientist, Pseudoscience


Computers are now essential in all branches of science, but most researchers are never taught the equivalent of basic lab skills for research computing. As a result, data can get lost, analyses can take much longer than necessary, and researchers are limited in how effectively they can work with software and data. Computing workflows need to follow the same practices as lab projects and notebooks, with organized data, documented steps, and the project structured for reproducibility, but researchers new to computing often don’t know where to start. This paper presents a set of good computing practices that every researcher can adopt, regardless of their current level of computational skill. These practices, which encompass data management, programming, collaborating with colleagues, organizing projects, tracking work, and writing manuscripts, are drawn from a wide variety of published sources from our daily lives and from our work with volunteer organizations that have delivered workshops to over 11,000 people since 2010.

Concepts: Scientific method, Science, Research, Management, Computer, Computer science, Computing, Computational science


Increasing public interest in science information in a digital and 2.0 science era promotes a dramatically, rapid and deep change in science itself. The emergence and expansion of new technologies and internet-based tools is leading to new means to improve scientific methodology and communication, assessment, promotion and certification. It allows methods of acquisition, manipulation and storage, generating vast quantities of data that can further facilitate the research process. It also improves access to scientific results through information sharing and discussion. Content previously restricted only to specialists is now available to a wider audience. This context requires new management systems to make scientific knowledge more accessible and useable, including new measures to evaluate the reach of scientific information. The new science and research quality measures are strongly related to the new online technologies and services based in social media. Tools such as blogs, social bookmarks and online reference managers, Twitter and others offer alternative, transparent and more comprehensive information about the active interest, usage and reach of scientific publications. Another of these new filters is the Research Blogging platform, which was created in 2007 and now has over 1,230 active blogs, with over 26,960 entries posted about peer-reviewed research on subjects ranging from Anthropology to Zoology. This study takes a closer look at RB, in order to get insights into its contribution to the rapidly changing landscape of scientific communication.

Concepts: Scientific method, Mathematics, Epistemology, Science, Research, Peer review, Technology, Scientific literature


To (i) evaluate the extent to which Coca-Cola’s ‘Transparency Lists’ of 218 researchers that it funds are comprehensive; (ii) map all scientific research acknowledging funding from Coca-Cola; (iii) identify those institutions, authors and research topics funded by Coca-Cola; and (iv) use Coca-Cola’s disclosure to gauge whether its funded researchers acknowledge the source of funding.

Concepts: Scientific method, Science, Research, Finance, Funding


In September 2010, the first International Scientific Tendinopathy Symposium (ISTS) was held in UmeƄ, Sweden, to establish a forum for original scientific and clinical insights in this growing field of clinical research and practice. The second ISTS was organised by the same group and held in Vancouver, Canada, in September 2012. This symposium was preceded by a round-table meeting in which the participants engaged in focused discussions, resulting in the following overview of tendinopathy clinical and research issues. This paper is a narrative review and summary developed during and after the second ISTS. The document is designed to highlight some key issues raised at ISTS 2012, and to integrate them into a shared conceptual framework. It should be considered an update and a signposting document rather than a comprehensive review. The document is developed for use by physiotherapists, physicians, athletic trainers, massage therapists and other health professionals as well as team coaches and strength/conditioning managers involved in care of sportspeople or workers with tendinopathy.

Concepts: Medicine, Clinical trial, Research, Management, Clinical research, Physical therapy, Canada, Massage


As part of a cluster of articles critically reflecting on the theme of “no health without research,” Devi Sridhar discusses a major challenge in the governance of research funding: “multi-bi” financing that allows the priorities of funding bodies to dictate what health issues and diseases are studied.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Research, Finance, Theme music, Research funding