Articles on Scientific research

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More is less in the world of research publications. Desktop image via www.shutterstock.com.

Peer review is in crisis, but should be fixed, not abolished

The traditional mode of publishing scientific research faces much criticism – primarily for being too slow and sometimes shoddily done. Maybe fewer publications of higher quality is the way forward.
Experiment design affects the quality of the results. IAEA Seibersdorf Historical Images

Why isn’t science better? Look at career incentives

Embracing more rigorous scientific methods would mean getting science right more often than we currently do. But the way we value and reward scientists makes this a challenge.
Climate change and the current El Niño have left Africans more vulnerable than ever to hunger. Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

Investing in science can help put food on Africa’s plates

Economic growth alone won't end hunger. Good policies and programmes are needed, too. Scientists and researchers have a role to play in these initiatives.
Available online: Georgetown’s high-throughput equipment for biomarker staining.

The sharing economy comes to scientific research

Science and technology research has become so complicated and expensive that a gap has grown between the experiments scientists would like to do and what they have the means to do.
Flint, Michigan residents couldn’t get answers about their water – so they did their own research. Laura Nawrocik

Can citizen science empower disenfranchised communities?

A new model of citizen-led science is emerging – as in the case of Flint, Michigan's poisoned water. Rather than simply supporting scientists, citizens ask their own questions and set the research agenda.
If scientists’ knowledge is segregated in non-overlapping silos, there can’t be cross-pollination between fields. Doc Searls

Scientists tend to superspecialize – but there are ways they can change

Scientists often prioritize deep goals over broad ones. But today's "wicked" problems demand an interdisciplinary approach. A new study shows how they can tweak work styles to alter their deep/broad ratio.
There is amazing research and knowledge coming out of Africa – you just need to know where to look. Shutterstock

Here’s one way to recover and protect Africa’s ‘lost science’

African research is largely invisible, kept in the shadows by publishing barriers and structural obstacles. A platform built in Brazil and rolled out across the developing world could be the solution.
What time do you think it’s safe for me to leave work? Overwork image via www.shutterstock.com

Workaholism isn’t a valid requirement for advancing in science

Despite macho career advice, it's time for scientists – and everyone else – to understand that the point is to work smarter, not longer and to strive for a realistic and livable work/life balance.
The BICEP2 telescope at twilight at the South Pole. The supporting data for the inflation of the universe have also gone off into the sunset. Steffen Richter, Harvard University

Failure in real science is good – and different from phony controversies

Last March, the BICEP2 collaboration announced that they had used a microwave telescope at the South Pole to detect primordial gravitational waves. These tiny ripples in spacetime would be the first proof…
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…
No work. No fun. No science. johnsonderman

US shutdown means one sad tale after another for scientists

As a researcher funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), since October 1, I’ve known that I will be not be receiving my monthly fellowship. This has meant that my work, investigating genes…

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