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  • May 25, 2016
  • 04:00 PM
  • 37 views

Humiliation from stares are worse than tiny seats for obese air travelers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Feelings of shame and humiliation bother obese air passengers more than tight seat belts and tiny seats, according to a study published by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers. Participants interviewed for the study recounted the typical challenges they encounter while boarding, in-flight and deplaning.

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Yaniv Poria, & Jeremy Beal. (2016) An Exploratory Study about Obese People’s Flight Experience . Journal of travel research. info:/10.1177/0047287516643416

  • May 25, 2016
  • 03:33 PM
  • 30 views

Open Access reviewed: stricter criteria preserve credibility

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The most comprehensive index of open access journals, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), reviewed its inclusion criteria, in view of allegations of the presence of predatory journals. This restructuring will lead to more than 3,000 journals to be removed from the database. DOAJ, besides advocating Open Access, established, in collaboration with COPE, OASPA and WAME, a code of principles and good practices in scientific publishing. … Read More →... Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 01:14 PM
  • 64 views

Raising The Standards Of Open Access Journals

by Nesru Koroso in United Academics

The Directory of Open Access Journals bans dubious journals from its index.... Read more »

  • May 24, 2016
  • 11:59 AM
  • 56 views

A critical comment on “Contextual sensitivity in scientific reproducibility”

by Richard Kunert in Brain's Idea

Psychological science is surprisingly difficult to replicate (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). Researchers are desperate to find out why. A new study in the prestigious journal PNAS (Van Bavel et al., 2016) claims unknown contextual factors of psychological phenomena (“hidden moderators”) are to blame. The more an effect is sensitive to unknown contextual factors, the less […]... Read more »

Dreber, A., Pfeiffer, T., Almenberg, J., Isaksson, S., Wilson, B., Chen, Y., Nosek, B., & Johannesson, M. (2015) Using prediction markets to estimate the reproducibility of scientific research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(50), 15343-15347. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1516179112  

Van Bavel, J.J., Mende-Siedlecki, P., Brady, W.J., & Reinero, D.A. (2016) Contextual sensitivity in scientific reproducibility. PNAS. info:/

  • May 24, 2016
  • 10:02 AM
  • 45 views

Should Biologists be Guided by Beauty?

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

One key characteristic of a beautiful scientific theory is the simplicity of the underlying concepts. According to Weinberg, Einstein's theory of gravitation is described in fourteen equations whereas Newton's theory can be expressed in three. Despite the appearance of greater complexity in Einstein's theory, Weinberg finds it more beautiful than Newton's theory because the Einsteinian approach rests on one elegant central principle – the equivalence of gravitation and inertia. Weinberg's second characteristic for beautiful scientific theories is their inevitability. Every major aspect of the theory seems so perfect that it cannot be tweaked or improved on. Any attempt to significantly modify Einstein's theory of general relativity would lead to undermining its fundamental concepts, just like any attempts to move around parts of Raphael's Holy Family would weaken the whole painting.
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Dietrich, M., Ankeny, R., & Chen, P. (2014) Publication Trends in Model Organism Research. Genetics, 198(3), 787-794. DOI: 10.1534/genetics.114.169714  

Weinberg, Steven. (1992) Dreams of a Final Theory . Vintage Books. info:/

  • May 23, 2016
  • 04:13 PM
  • 78 views

Extreme beliefs often mistaken for insanity, new study finds

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the aftermath of violent acts such as mass shootings, many people assume mental illness is the cause. After studying the 2011 case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, researchers are suggesting a new forensic term to classify non-psychotic behavior that leads to criminal acts of violence.

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Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741  

  • May 22, 2016
  • 04:04 PM
  • 97 views

How depression and antidepressant drugs work

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Treating depression is kind of a guessing game. Trying to find a medication that works without causing side effects can take months, or more likely, years. However, new research demonstrates the effectiveness of ketamine to treat depression in a mouse model of the disease and brings together two hypotheses for the cause of depression.

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  • May 21, 2016
  • 03:44 PM
  • 103 views

Bacteria in branches naturally fertilize trees

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The bacteria in and on our bodies have been shown to be vital for human health, influencing nutrition, obesity and protection from diseases. But science has only recently delved into the importance of the microbiome of plants. Since plants can't move, they are especially reliant on partnerships with microbes to help them get nutrients.

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Doty, S., Sher, A., Fleck, N., Khorasani, M., Bumgarner, R., Khan, Z., Ko, A., Kim, S., & DeLuca, T. (2016) Variable Nitrogen Fixation in Wild Populus. PLOS ONE, 11(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155979  

  • May 20, 2016
  • 03:52 PM
  • 126 views

You are what you eat: Immune cells remember their first meal

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists have identified the trigger for immune cells' inflammatory response -- a discovery that may pave the way for new treatments for many human diseases. Immune cells play essential roles in the maintenance and repair of our bodies. When we injure ourselves, immune cells mount a rapid inflammatory response to protect us against infection and help heal the damaged tissue.

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  • May 18, 2016
  • 05:20 PM
  • 138 views

Your friends have more friends than you do

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

No matter how smart and funny you think you are, those you follow on Twitter really do have a larger following than you. And the same holds true for Facebook. But there is no reason to feel badly about any of this. According to the research, it is all due to the inherently hierarchical nature of social media networks, where, in the social hierarchy of connections, people mostly either follow up or across; they rarely follow down.

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  • May 16, 2016
  • 03:50 PM
  • 126 views

Converting cells to burn fat, not store it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have uncovered a new molecular pathway for stimulating the body to burn fat -- a discovery that could help fight obesity and cardiovascular disease.By focusing on a protein known as folliculin, and knocking out the gene that produces it in fat cells, the researchers triggered a series of biomolecular signals that switched the cells from storing fat to burning it.

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Yan, M., Audet-Walsh., Manteghi, S., Rosa Dufour, C., Walker, B., Baba, M., St-Pierre, J., Giguère, V., & Pause, A. (2016) Chronic AMPK activation via loss of FLCN induces functional beige adipose tissue through PGC-1α/ERRα. Genes , 30(9), 1034-1046. DOI: 10.1101/gad.281410.116  

  • May 16, 2016
  • 08:43 AM
  • 136 views

Academic publication quality and the senility of science

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

A recent column in Nature by Daniel Sarewitz laments the ever increasing torrent of academic publications. Quantity goes up, but quality does not follow suit. There are more scientists than ever. And they publish more than ever. However, that doesn’t mean they publish more high quality research. This harks back to the work of Derek J. […]... Read more »

Kidwell MC, Lazarević LB, Baranski E, Hardwicke TE, Piechowski S, Falkenberg LS, Kennett C, Slowik A, Sonnleitner C, Hess-Holden C.... (2016) Badges to Acknowledge Open Practices: A Simple, Low-Cost, Effective Method for Increasing Transparency. PLoS biology, 14(5). PMID: 27171007  

  • May 15, 2016
  • 03:22 PM
  • 146 views

Brain cells that aid appetite control identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It's rare for scientists to get what they describe as "clean" results without spending a lot of time repeating the same experiment over and over again. But when researchers saw the mice they were working with doubling their weight within a month or two, they knew they were on to something.

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Djogo, T., Robins, S., Schneider, S., Kryzskaya, D., Liu, X., Mingay, A., Gillon, C., Kim, J., Storch, K., Boehm, U.... (2016) Adult NG2-Glia Are Required for Median Eminence-Mediated Leptin Sensing and Body Weight Control. Cell Metabolism, 23(5), 797-810. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.04.013  

  • May 14, 2016
  • 04:04 PM
  • 151 views

Bacteria are individualists

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

No two bacteria are identical - even when they are genetically the same. A new study from researchers reveals the conditions under which bacteria become individualists and how they help their group grow when times get tough. Whether you are a human or a bacterium, your environment determines how you can develop.

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  • May 13, 2016
  • 04:00 PM
  • 154 views

Neuroscientists discover new learning rule for pattern completion

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Recently, scientists discovered a new learning rule for a specific type of excitatory synaptic connection in the hippocampus. These synapses are located in the so-called CA3 region of the hippocampus, which plays a critical role for storage and recall of spatial information in the brain. One of its hallmark properties is that memory recall can even be triggered by incomplete cues. This enables the network to complete neuronal activity patterns, a phenomenon termed pattern completion.

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  • May 11, 2016
  • 02:58 PM
  • 142 views

Could flies help us understand brain injuries?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These injuries occur most frequently from falling, but can also result from military combat, car accidents, contact sports or domestic abuse. Recently, physicians and researchers have become increasingly concerned that even mild cases of repetitive brain trauma could have long-term, unanticipated consequences.

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Barekat, A., Gonzalez, A., Mauntz, R., Kotzebue, R., Molina, B., El-Mecharrafie, N., Conner, C., Garza, S., Melkani, G., Joiner, W.... (2016) Using Drosophila as an integrated model to study mild repetitive traumatic brain injury. Scientific Reports, 25252. DOI: 10.1038/srep25252  

  • May 10, 2016
  • 04:55 PM
  • 149 views

Research shows body image linked to overall life satisfaction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We're constantly bombarded by advertisements telling us we are too fat, too thin, not curvy enough, not flat enough -- or more often than not -- simply not enough. It shouldn't be a surprise to see that effect our day to day life, like it or not -- and it has. Researchers have just published results from a national study on the factors linked to satisfaction with appearance and weight.

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  • May 10, 2016
  • 03:18 PM
  • 108 views

The adoption of English among SciELO Brazil journals has been increasing

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The adoption of the English language is one of the advances that SciELO is promoting in order to increase the insertion, visibility and international impact of journals and the research they communicate. In recent years, the adoption of English has growing consistently among SciELO journals, which, from 2014 reached the milestone of publishing more in English than in Portuguese. The expectation of SciELO is that in the 2 to 3 forthcoming years 75% of the articles will be published in English and 40 to 50% in Portuguese. … Read More →... Read more »

  • May 10, 2016
  • 06:36 AM
  • 137 views

Psychosis: Understanding The Symptoms

by Pieter Carrière in United Academics

Dealing with psychotic patients takes more than looking at their diagnostic labels.... Read more »

Heering, H., Koevoets, G., Koenders, L., Machielsen, M., Meijer, C., Kubota, M., de Nijs, J., Cahn, W., Hulshoff Pol, H., de Haan, L.... (2015) Structural MRI Differences between Patients with and without First Rank Symptoms: A Delusion?. Frontiers in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00107  

Perälä, J., Suvisaari, J., Saarni, S., Kuoppasalmi, K., Isometsä, E., Pirkola, S., Partonen, T., Tuulio-Henriksson, A., Hintikka, J., Kieseppä, T.... (2007) Lifetime Prevalence of Psychotic and Bipolar I Disorders in a General Population. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64(1), 19. DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.64.1.19  

  • May 10, 2016
  • 03:47 AM
  • 116 views

Getting Published (the story behind the paper)

by Christophe Dessimoz in Open Reading Frame

Our paper “A Pragmatic Approach to Getting Published: 35 Tips for Early Career Researchers” just came out in Frontiers in Plant Science. This is the story behind the paper.

For my second postdoc, I was the fortunate receipient of a PLANT FELLOWS scholarship. PLANT FELLOWS is an international program that provides research grants to postdocs in the field of plant science. The fellows are based at many different host institutions throughout Europe. I myself am working at Bayer Crop Science in Gent, Belgium, in collaboration with the Dessimoz lab in London and Lausanne. Part of the PLANT FELLOWS mission is to provide training, mentoring, and networking to the postdocs—skills essential for career advancement.

Last year, the annual PF meeting was held in Männedorf, Switzerland from September 28 to October 1 2015. Training workshops took place at the Boldern Hotel, surrounded by meadows and with a nice view of Lake Zürich.



Group picture from the 3rd annual PLANT FELLOWS meeting

The meeting consisted of several days of trainings and workshops. For one of the days, I chose to participate in the workshop “Advanced Strategies for Dealing with the Publication Process.” I was especially keen on learning more about this particular subject. As a postdoc still trying to navigate the publication waters, I was looking for all the advice I could get. We’ve all heard the saying before: publish or perish. Publishing papers in your postdoc years is so important for an academic career.

There were about 15 postdocs in this day-long workshop. The facilitator, Philipp Mayer, came with a bunch of photocopied book chapters, articles, and USB keys full of pdfs for each of us to use on our laptops. The objective of the workshop was to, as a group, write a small paper about advanced publication strategies using the literature we were provided with. Our plan of attack was to pool our collective postdoc experience and come up with a list of our most useful recommendations on how to get a scientific paper published.

After feverishly reading websites, book chapters and papers, at the end of the day we came up with a draft: an introduction, our recommendations broken into 3 main sections, and a conclusion. We had a respectable number of references. But what would be the fate of our paper? About a third of the class was apathetic, a third thought we should aim for a blog post, and another third thought we should try for a “real” scientific journal. I had really enjoyed the workshop so I lobbied for publishing it in a real journal. I liked the experience of learning about a topic, working collaboratively with my peers, and then passing on the information for others to benefit.

I volunteered to take charge of the paper, edit it, and submit it to journals in hopes of getting it published. At the end of the day I left with a draft of the paper, many references, the contact information of all the attendees, and the full support of the facilitator (Philipp) for any future help that I might need. I looked at it as an opportunity take a leadership role in publishing a paper, from start to finish. And more importantly, it was a chance to put our own advice into practice.

Upon returning to Belgium, I quickly found out that one of the sentences we had written in the paper rang true: It is a common misconception among early career researchers that the presentation of the work in a manuscript is the last stage of a project. There is a long and complicated process associated with submission, review, and revision that must be taken into account. During the next month, I reread paper, finished writing short sections, added references, edited, and got feedback from the coauthors. We agreed on the author order, and shared the document using Authorea. Philipp and I went back and forth with several rounds of editing.

Attempt #1

We decided to submit our manuscript to eLife, which is a prestigious peer reviewed open access journal with favorable policy toward early career researchers. I wrote a cover letter to the editor describing our paper and asking if the topic was suitable to be considered for eLife.

Within a few days, the editor read the manuscript but informed me that he was unable to send it out for review because it wasn’t “fresh” enough, meaning most of what we said had already be discussed many times in the scientific community. Despite the sting of having a paper rejected directly from the editor, I decided to take the advice we had written in the paper: Remove your personal feelings from the peer review process. Time to find the next journal.

During the following month and a half, the manuscript was pushed to the bottom of my To Do list, as other projects and tasks got my attention. Christmas holidays came and went, and admittedly this paper was the last thing on my mind.

Attempt #2

In January, I sent a presubmission inquiry to PLOS Biology. The PLOS Biology editor wrote back within a few days to inform me that although they appreciated the attention to an important problem, they could not encourage us to submit because it didn’t present “novel strategies for increasing access to research, improving the quality of research results, or fixing flawed measures of impact.” Since this was the second time I had heard this same exact criticism, I realized it was time to take more advice from the paper: It is critical to highlight the novelty and importance in the article and cover letter. We were going to have to add something to the paper to make it more novel.

Attempt #3

Shortly after, I contacted the Frontiers in Plant Science (FiPS) Editorial Office with a new and improved cover letter. FiPS is an open access online journal publishing many different peer reviewed articles: research, reviews, commentaries, and perspectives, among others. The editor and I discussed morphing the paper into something that would be more plant related, given the plant science background of all the coauthors. Over the next month, it was back to editing the paper. I proposed edits that would make our tips more plant-specific. We added advice about industry-academia collaborations, and more information about plant science journals. Philipp, the coauthors, and I went back and forth several times with rounds of edits, adding more references and polishing more details. I submitted the final version of the paper to Frontiers in Plant Science on March 15.

The experience of the collaborative peer review by FiPS was a pleasant and efficient one. Their webiste says “Frontiers reviews are standardized, rigorous, fair, constructive, efficient and transparent.” I enthusiastically agree. Within two weeks, we had received comments from the reviewers. There were some major points that needed to be addressed before Frontiers could offer publication. However, the points were all very relevant and only helped to make the paper stronger. During the process of the interactive review, I took more guidance from the paper: Go point by point through the reviewer comments and either make the suggested change or politely explain and clarify the misunderstanding.

April 21st : Acceptance achieved! Approximately 5 weeks after submitting the article, it was accepted and the provisional version of the manuscript was published online. This is an extremely fast turnover time, in part due to the responsiveness of the editor, quick but in-depth peer review, and the interactive, transparent review discussion.

What I learned

This collaboration with the PLANT FELLOWS postdocs resulted in a paper I can say I’m proud of. I learned many things about the publication process—not only through a literature review, but by actually experiencing the process first hand. Here are some of the main things that stuck with me:


There is a certain creative power in bringing people together in a beautiful location to brainstorm and produce an outcome within a short period of time. However, it is necessary for someone to take the reins and commit to the follow-through in order to get to a finished product. I think things like hackathons or other collaborative group efforts could lead to fruitful outcomes.
I learned how to coordinate a small project. This was a great collaborative effort, which gave me an opportunity to practice the recommendations we wrote about in the paper.
I discovered firsthand the importance of the initial contact with the editor. As soon as we reworked the paper to approach the topic from a plant-specific standpoint, this added novelty to the paper. We were able to highlight this novelty in the cover letter.
Don’t give up. Many times I got distracted or discouraged and thought to publish the manuscript on our blog, but I’m glad in the end we found a home for it at FiPS. Perseverance is key.


References

... Read more »

Glover, N., Antoniadi, I., George, G., Götzenberger, L., Gutzat, R., Koorem, K., Liancourt, P., Rutowicz, K., Saharan, K., You, W.... (2016) A Pragmatic Approach to Getting Published: 35 Tips for Early Career Researchers. Frontiers in Plant Science. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00610  

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