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

Concept: Technology


Most researchers acknowledge an intrinsic hierarchy in the scholarly journals (“journal rank”) that they submit their work to, and adjust not only their submission but also their reading strategies accordingly. On the other hand, much has been written about the negative effects of institutionalizing journal rank as an impact measure. So far, contributions to the debate concerning the limitations of journal rank as a scientific impact assessment tool have either lacked data, or relied on only a few studies. In this review, we present the most recent and pertinent data on the consequences of our current scholarly communication system with respect to various measures of scientific quality (such as utility/citations, methodological soundness, expert ratings or retractions). These data corroborate previous hypotheses: using journal rank as an assessment tool is bad scientific practice. Moreover, the data lead us to argue that any journal rank (not only the currently-favored Impact Factor) would have this negative impact. Therefore, we suggest that abandoning journals altogether, in favor of a library-based scholarly communication system, will ultimately be necessary. This new system will use modern information technology to vastly improve the filter, sort and discovery functions of the current journal system.

Concepts: Journal, Kurt Cobain, Scientific journal, Technology, Logic, PageRank, Impact factor, Scientific method


The preservation and understanding of cultural heritage depends increasingly on in-depth chemical studies. Rapid technological advances are forging connections between scientists and arts communities, enabling revolutionary new techniques for non-invasive technical study of culturally significant, highly prized artworks. We have applied a non-invasive, rapid, high definition X-ray fluorescence (XRF) elemental mapping technique to a French Impressionist painting using a synchrotron radiation source, and show how this technology can advance scholarly art interpretation and preservation. We have obtained detailed technical understanding of a painting which could not be resolved by conventional techniques. Here we show 31.6 megapixel scanning XRF derived elemental maps and report a novel image processing methodology utilising these maps to produce a false colour representation of a “hidden” portrait by Edgar Degas. This work provides a cohesive methodology for both imaging and understanding the chemical composition of artworks, and enables scholarly understandings of cultural heritage, many of which have eluded conventional technologies. We anticipate that the outcome from this work will encourage the reassessment of some of the world’s great art treasures.

Concepts: Technology, X-ray fluorescence, Cultural studies, Drawing, Edgar Degas, Impressionism


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


Many promising technological innovations in health and social care are characterized by nonadoption or abandonment by individuals or by failed attempts to scale up locally, spread distantly, or sustain the innovation long term at the organization or system level.

Concepts: Health care, Term, Patent, Economic growth, Economics, Technology, Innovation


Scientists must communicate about science with public audiences to promote an understanding of complex issues that we face in our technologically advanced society. Some scientists may be concerned about a social stigma or “Sagan effect” associated with participating in public communication. Recent research in the social sciences indicates that public communication by scientists is not a niche activity but is widely done and can be beneficial to a scientist’s career. There are a variety of approaches that scientists can take to become active in science communication.

Concepts: Technology, Mathematics, Scientist, Social sciences, Pseudoscience, Sociology, Society, Science


Gene expression data, in conjunction with information on genetic variants, have enabled studies to identify expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) or polymorphic locations in the genome that are associated with expression levels. Moreover, recent technological developments and cost decreases have further enabled studies to collect expression data in multiple tissues. One advantage of multiple tissue datasets is that studies can combine results from different tissues to identify eQTLs more accurately than examining each tissue separately. The idea of aggregating results of multiple tissues is closely related to the idea of meta-analysis which aggregates results of multiple genome-wide association studies to improve the power to detect associations. In principle, meta-analysis methods can be used to combine results from multiple tissues. However, eQTLs may have effects in only a single tissue, in all tissues, or in a subset of tissues with possibly different effect sizes. This heterogeneity in terms of effects across multiple tissues presents a key challenge to detect eQTLs. In this paper, we develop a framework that leverages two popular meta-analysis methods that address effect size heterogeneity to detect eQTLs across multiple tissues. We show by using simulations and multiple tissue data from mouse that our approach detects many eQTLs undetected by traditional eQTL methods. Additionally, our method provides an interpretation framework that accurately predicts whether an eQTL has an effect in a particular tissue.

Concepts: Technology, Gene V. Glass, Gene expression, Meta-analysis, Gene, Effect size, Genetics


In recent times, the use of health technologies in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases experienced considerable and accelerated growth. The goal of the present study was to describe the designated pilot MCDM (Multiple Criteria Decision Making) model for priority setting of health technology assessment in Iran.

Concepts: Philosophy of science, Multi-criteria decision analysis, Decision theory, Neolithic, Time, Technology assessment, Decision making software, Technology


We need technology and an ethical framework for genome-scale engineering.

Concepts: Science, Technology, Engineering


Scientific societies provide numerous services to the scientific enterprise, including convening meetings, publishing journals, developing scientific programs, advocating for science, promoting education, providing cohesion and direction for the discipline, and more. For most scientific societies, publishing provides revenues that support these important activities. In recent decades, the proportion of papers on microbiology published in scientific society journals has declined. This is largely due to two competing pressures: authors' drive to publish in “glam journals”-those with high journal impact factors-and the availability of “mega journals,” which offer speedy publication of articles regardless of their potential impact. The decline in submissions to scientific society journals and the lack of enthusiasm on the part of many scientists to publish in them should be matters of serious concern to all scientists because they impact the service that scientific societies can provide to their members and to science.

Concepts: Sociology, Religion, Technology, Academic publishing, Publication, Publishing, Society, Science


Although the time adolescents spend with digital technologies has sparked widespread concerns that their use might be negatively associated with mental well-being, these potential deleterious influences have not been rigorously studied. Using a preregistered plan for analyzing data collected from a representative sample of English adolescents ( n = 120,115), we obtained evidence that the links between digital-screen time and mental well-being are described by quadratic functions. Further, our results showed that these links vary as a function of when digital technologies are used (i.e., weekday vs. weekend), suggesting that a full understanding of the impact of these recreational activities will require examining their functionality among other daily pursuits. Overall, the evidence indicated that moderate use of digital technology is not intrinsically harmful and may be advantageous in a connected world. The findings inform recommendations for limiting adolescents' technology use and provide a template for conducting rigorous investigations into the relations between digital technology and children’s and adolescents' health.

Concepts: Recreation, Digital, Quadratic function, Function model, Critical thinking, Technology, Function