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An artist’s conception of a of gamma ray burst. ESO/NAOJ

Gamma ray bursts and biases: let’s stop fitting data to the model

Our understanding of gamma ray bursts (GRBs) – flashes of gamma rays from explosions in distant galaxies – since they were discovered more than 50 years ago may not be as solid as first thought. Research…
Sunlight is the best medicine. rishibando

What counts as an academic publication?

What is it that sets academic publications apart from articles on The Conversation? Peer review might be your first answer. While The Conversation is built around a journalistic model, there is a big growth…
Pollies don’t have the expertise to pick the right researchers for the job - leave that to the experts. AAP

Gifting of research funds by politicians undermines quality

I have worked as a health researcher for over 30 years. During that time I have made numerous applications for funding. The majority of these have, to my frustration, been rejected. This does not mean…
Oh no – not that mistake again. Flickr/Alex Proimos

The 10 stuff-ups we all make when interpreting research

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Understanding what’s being said in any new research can be challenging and there are…
Things can and do go wrong when some announcements are mad ahead of time. Flickr/Narshada

The risks of blowing your own trumpet too soon on research

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Today a cautionary tale of why you should be careful of some new announcements made…
Normal day for a scientist at work. Offices in the United States

How science can beat the flawed metric that rules it

In order to improve something, we need to be able to measure its quality. This is true in public policy, in commercial industries, and also in science. Like other fields, science has a growing need for…
What exactly is peer review? Flickr/AJ Cann

Explainer: what is peer review?

We’ve all heard the phrase “peer review” as giving credence to research and scholarly papers, but what does it actually mean? How does it work? Peer review is one of the gold standards of science. It’s…
This has been replaced by one number, sadly. cifor

Time to discard the metric that decides how science is rated

Scientists, like other professionals, need ways to evaluate themselves and their colleagues. These evaluations are necessary for better everyday management: hiring, promotions, awarding grants and so on…
Peer review? No thanks. thierry ehrmann

Hate the peer-review process? Einstein did too

Most academic papers today are published only after some academic peers have had a chance to review the merits and limitations of the work. This seems like a good idea, but there is a growing movement…
Randy Schekman: I will not publish in Nature, Science and Cell. James Kegley

Schekman’s ‘luxury journal’ boycott doesn’t go far enough

Recipients of this year’s Nobel Prizes converged on Stockholm to receive their medals, dine with the King and Queen, and be treated like the scientific royalty. For most this time is, understandably, about…
Isn’t open access better? fuzzcaminski

Flawed sting operation singles out open access journals

In a sting operation, John Bohannon, a correspondent of Science, claims to have exposed dodgy open access journals. His argument seems to be that, because of their business model, some journals are biased…
Chasing Ice is trying to get us out of the climate change hole we’ve dug for ourselves. EPA/Baard Ness

Chasing Ice bewitches eyes but won’t change minds

Science seems to be failing to change the minds of those who are sceptical about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Chasing Ice - a film by Jeff Orlowski, playing in Australia currently - tries…
The author’s key message is diametrically opposed to that of just about every reputable nutrition authority in the world. Sexy Eggs/Flickr

Peer review: David Gillespie’s Toxic Oil

A best-selling book about nutrition has a power to influence the national diet that many health professionals can only dream about. And, if David Gillespie’s success is anything to go by, being a layman…
Pi finds a strange and beautiful island where life can’t survive. wildfox76/Flickr

Life of Pi’s acidic island a warning for our warming world

The recently released film Life of Pi directed by Ang Lee and based on Yann Martel’s novel of the same name, is a fable for our climate change times. Much of the plot involves the struggles of a teenage…

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