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Issue 1208: 28 August 2015
UK
Science policy and funding
UK health R&D spend slipped in five years to 2014
A report produced by the Medical Research Council discusses new data that show a £0.8 billion real-terms decrease in UK health research spending between 2009-2014. This is primarily due to a reduction in the pharmaceutical industry's R&D investment, however the report also shows that charity and public funding of health research grew by £130 million over the same period.

Research Europe    Vol.417  - 21 August 2015
Grant delay 'unrelated' to spending review
Researchers have interpreted the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's delay in funding 'responsive-mode' grants, which have all been pushed back until at least the 1 January 2016, as a sign that the funder is anticipating cuts to their budget. Representatives of the research council have denied that this is the case, instead citing the need to balance "additional large investments".

THE    Issue.2218  - 27 August 2015 p.9
Health policy
No stories this week.
Education, training and careers
The metrics system is no substitute for good research management
Co-editors of 'The Sage Handbook of Research Management' Mary Byrne McDonnell and Robert Dingwall criticise the idea that being a "brilliant individual" is enough to be a good research manager, instead suggesting that skills which can't be easily captured in exercises such as the Research Excellence Framework are most important.

THE    Issue.2218  - 27 August 2015 p.24-25
Backing Jisc 'should be a no-brainer'
The incoming chief executive for Jisc, the UK higher education ICT support organisation, has defended his organisation in light of possible upcoming cuts to funding as institutional subscriptions stop being mandatory in 2017.

THE    Issue.2218  - 27 August 2015 p.10
Technology transfer
No stories this week.
Global Themes
Pharma and biotech sector
No stories this week.
Biomedical ethics
Many psychology papers fail replication test
The results of a large-scale effort to reproduce findings reported in 100 prominent psychology papers has revealed that only 39 per cent could be replicated unambiguously, and provided evidence of publication bias in many studies. Many of the original authors of the papers have welcomed the study - suggesting it raises important issues and that the replication efforts will add value to the original research.

Science    Vol.349  Issue.6251  - 28 August 2015 p.910-911, 943
  See Also:
Guardian      - 28 August 2015 p.2
Independent      - 28 August 2015 p.15
Public engagement in science
No stories this week.
Publishing and data sharing
Fewer concerns over open access
An annual study by Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan has found that while fewer researchers have concerns about the quality of open access journals, journal reputation remains a more important factor than whether a journal is open access or not when deciding where to submit.

THE    Issue.2218  - 27 August 2015 p.13
Crowd control: the rise of the 'kilo-authors'
Zen Faulkes, neuroethologist and commentator on the ethics of publication practices, is one of multiple academics warning of the challenges posed by mass-authorship. Papers which list over 1,000 researchers are indicative of a trend towards co-authorship, which should be welcomed, but the validity and meaning of attribution need to be considered carefully in order to avoid "institutional plagiarism" in which academics demand authorship of projects they've only tangentially contributed to.

THE    Issue.2218  - 27 August 2015 p.18-19
Global health
No stories this week.
International science
Safeguarding gene drive experiments in the laboratory
In a perspective article an international group of scientists present biosafety recommendations for laboratories undertaking research involving 'gene drive systems' - which hold the potential, if not contained, to propagate genetic changes in wild populations. The group recommends that a combination of containment strategies be used wherever possible, rather than relying on any single approach.

Science    Vol.349  Issue.6251  - 28 August 2015 p.927-928
Worldwide
European Union
No stories this week.
Europe
No stories this week.
Africa
No stories this week.
Middle East
No stories this week.
Asia
Stem-cell guidelines
On 21 August China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission published guidelines on the use of stem cells in clinics. These guidelines outline a pathway for clinical studies of stem cells, and though many researchers have welcomed the clarity, others have criticised the rules as unenforceable.

Nature    Vol.524  Issue.7566  - 27 August 2015 p.392
Australasia
No stories this week.
North America
Coca-Cola responds to critics
Coca-Cola has faced fierce criticism after it was reported that it had provided significant funding for the Global Energy Balance Network, a non-profit organisation that has promoted a message that it is primarily lack of exercise, rather than poor diet, that is to blame for the US obesity epidemic. In response, Coca-Cola has pledged greater transparency in its research funding in the future.

Science    Vol.349  Issue.6251  - 28 August 2015 p.907
FDA vulnerability revealed
An editorial discusses the controversial circumstances surrounding the approval of the first drug to treat low libido in women. Critics of the decision argue that the safety and efficiency data are poor, but that the drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because it became an issue of gender equality, with campaigns highlighting the number of drugs approved to treat sexual disorders in men versus women.

Nature    Vol.524  Issue.7566  - 27 August 2015 p.387
  See Also:
Science    Vol.349  - 28 August 2015 p.907
We must build resilience into our communities
A decade after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Erwann Michel-Kerjan, executive director of the Center for Risk Management and Decision Processes at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses how science can help to prevent such disasters. Michel-Kerjan outlines three key areas that must be considered, including a focus on basic research to understand these events.

Nature    Vol.524  Issue.7566  - 27 August 2015 p.389
Congressional showdown threatens NIH funding boost
A proposed increased budget for the National Institutes of Health, put forward by congressional committees, will likely be vetoed by the US President due to being partially funded by cuts to public health support.

The Lancet    Vol.386  Issue.9996  - 29 August 2015 p.841-842
Latin America
Fiscal crisis has Brazilian scientists scrambling
In light of a worsening economy and rising debts, Brazil's federal government has cut the Ministry of Science's planned 2015 budget by 25 per cent, and the Ministry of Education's budget by nine per cent. As a result, the country's scientists are facing the toughest funding climate in years - with research agencies being forced to delay payments for existing grants and cancel or postpone planned calls for proposals.

Science    Vol.349  Issue.6251  - 28 August 2015 p.909-910

Consultations and Publications
UK Health Research Analysis 2014   [UK Clinical Research Collaboration]
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UK health R&D spend slipped in five years to 2014

A report produced by the Medical Research Council discusses new data that ...

Top Story
Many psychology papers fail replication test

The results of a large-scale effort to reproduce findings reported in 100 ...
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