About protohedgehog

Palaeontologist, working on a PhD at Imperial College in vertebrate biodiversity and extinction. Digs science communication, science policy, and opening up the research process. Tweets vigorously as @protohedgehog.

Sharing data during Zika and other global health emergencies

Not sayin’ ScienceOpen got their first, but we totally did http://blog.scienceopen.com/2016/02/research-on-zika-virus-free-to-publish-via-scienceopen/ Great global initiative here!

Wellcome Trust Blog

aedes dengue Aedes mosquito. Credit: Wellcome Images

We’re joining over 30 global health bodies in calling for all research data gathered during the Zika virus outbreak, and future public health emergencies, to be made available as rapidly and openly as possible. It follows a consensus statement arising from a WHO consultation in September 2015, in which leading international stakeholders affirmed that timely and transparent pre-publication sharing of data and results during public health emergencies must become the global norm. The statement is published in full below: 

Statement on data sharing in public health emergencies 

The arguments for sharing data, and the consequences of not doing so, have been thrown into stark relief by the Ebola and Zika outbreaks.

In the context of a public health emergency of international concern, there is an imperative on all parties to make any information available that might have value in combatting the crisis.

We are…

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Over-proved, but fantastic flavor: The Great British Baking Show as a model for writing reviews

Cake and peer review? Yes please!

The Contemplative Mammoth

I’ve recently started watching The Great British Baking Show*. I’m a bit late to the game, because, despite calling myself a foodie, I am not a fan of cooking shows. The American ones, at least, are so cutthroat, competitive, and nasty that I find them stressful. The trash-talking, sabotage, and antagonism are not fun for me, especially when I’m looking for a way to wind down after a long day in the lab.

Friends in the know assured me that the Great British Baking Show was different, however, and I’m glad I listened. It is, in a word, delightful. Yes, it’s an elimination competition, and yes, the challenges are tough and there are nail-biting moments and heartbreak, but it’s a really joyful show. There is so much to recommend it, from the diverse personalities of the bakers (from teenagers to immigrants to grandmothers to carpenters) to just how informative it is…

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Are the UK immigration policies science-friendly?

Great discussion of the impact of ongoing immigration policies on STEM in the UK

Biochemical Society

By Gabriele Butkute, science policy assistant

Look around your office, your lab or the next conference centre you are at. How many non-UK nationals do you see? If you are at a university, about a quarter of your academic colleagues will be non-UK nationals. You might be one yourself.

Immigration-report11-208x300 for news piece

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The Less Wrong Metric (LWM): towards a not wholly inadequate way of quantifying the value of research

Mike Taylor on the incredibly important topic of research and researcher evaluation.

Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

I said last time that my new paper on Better ways to evaluate research and researchers proposes a family of Less Wrong Metrics, or LWMs for short, which I think would at least be an improvement on the present ubiquitous use of impact factors and H-indexes.

What is an LWM? Let me quote the paper:

The Altmetrics Manifesto envisages no single replacement for any of the metrics presently in use, but instead a palette of different metrics laid out together. Administrators are invited to consider all of them in concert. For example, in evaluating a researcher for tenure, one might consider H-index alongside other metrics such as number of trials registered, number of manuscripts handled as an editor, number of peer-reviews submitted, total hit-count of posts on academic blogs, number of Twitter followers and Facebook friends, invited conference presentations, and potentially many other dimensions.

In practice, it may be inevitable…

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