Each week, Science publishes a number of articles that are likely to be of interest to career-minded readers. Because those articles are published on the other Science sites, Science Careers readers could easily overlook them.
To remedy that, every Friday we're pointing our readers toward articles appearing in Science (the print magazine), online news, Science Translational Medicine (Sci. TM), and Science Signaling—that hold some relevance to careers in science and other technical fields. (Note that articles appearing in Sci. TM, Science Signaling, and Science may require AAAS [the publisher of Science Careers] membership, a Science subscription, or a site license.)
► Last Friday at ScienceInsider, Jocelyn Kaiser wrote about two lab closures at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, following what CDC chief Thomas Frieden, at a press conference, called “totally unacceptable behavior” by staff. Last month, some 75 workers may have been exposed to anthrax because samples that were thought to be dead were, in fact, live. An internal report released on 11 July “describes how scientists failed to follow proper procedures to ensure samples were inactivated before they left the lab,” Kaiser writes. Both the anthrax lab and an influenza lab—which mistakenly shipped samples that were contaminated with H5N1 to a U.S. Department of Agriculture poultry lab—were closed.
► Also last Friday, Erik Stokstad described a paper published at PLOS ONE, by John Ioannidis of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and two colleagues, which concludes that of all the scientific authors listed in Elsevier’s Scopus database over a period of 15 years—more than 15 million authors—only about 1% published at least one paper per year, maintaining what the authors call an “uninterrupted continuous presence” (UCP). Science’s 1% is responsible for 41.7% of all papers published and 87.1% of papers with more than 1000 citations. (One of the papers in the latter group is Ioannidis’ previous study, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False,” which has been cited 1334 times.)
In an interesting gauge of how fast the ranks of scientists are growing, the authors determined that in 1997, 16,877 scientists entered the scientific literature who would then maintain UCP—would continue publishing at least one new paper per year—through 2012.
There is much of interest in the paper, but for those aspiring to scientific success, one result stands out: “Skipping even a single year,” of publishing, the authors noted in the paper, “substantially affected the average citation impact.”
► Particle physicists got some good news last Friday when the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that, instead of choosing between two competing projects, they would try to fund them both. The projects would search for weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs, “whose gravity binds the galaxies,” wrote Adrian Cho at ScienceInsider. One of the projects, LZ, is projected to cost $55 million, with about $20 million of that total coming from partners. The cost of the other project—SuperCDMS—wasn’t specified, but the version the agencies supported was a scaled back version of the one initially proposed.
► On Wednesday, Ann Gibbons wrote about a survey published in PLOS ONE that found sexual harassment common during fieldwork. “We’ve got lots and lots and lots of people having very bad experiences in the field,” evolutionary biologist Katie Hinde of Harvard University, a co-author, tells Gibbons.
Researchers discovered that “64% of the survey respondents had personally experienced sexual harassment, inappropriate or sexual remarks, or jokes about physical beauty and cognitive sex differences,” Gibbons wrote. “More seriously, more than 20% of respondents reported that they had personally experienced sexual assault, including unwanted physical contact, sexual advances, or sexual contact. About 22% of that group felt it would be unsafe to fight back or not give consent when they were sexually assaulted. Victims were overwhelmingly young: More than 90% of women and 70% of men who had been harassed or assaulted were students, postdocs, or employees of lower rank than their assailants. Women were 3.5 times more likely to report sexual harassment than men and significantly more likely to have experienced sexual assault.” “This is about power dynamics in a permissive environment,” says anthropologist Kathryn Clancy of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the study’s lead author.
► In China, “[a] researcher whose nutrition study in Chinese children was found in breach of ethical regulations is going to court to salvage a paper describing her results. Nutrition scientist Guangwen Tang is suing the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and Tufts University, where she has worked for more than 25 years, to prevent the retraction of her 2012 paper in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” wrote Martin Enserink on Thursday in ScienceInsider.
► In this week’s Science editorial, Joanne Padrón Carney, the director of government relations at AAAS, wrote about the relationships among science, advocacy, and policy, and outlined the skills scientists need to become more effective advocates for science—namely, communication skills and knowledge about how science policy is made.
► In an In Depth news article in this week’s Science, Jeffrey Mervis wrote about a “radical” experiment in peer review in which applicants for NSF funding were required to review proposals from competitors seeking funding from the same pot. Normally, reviewing proposals from competitors wouldn’t be allowed, but in this experiment, reviewing competing proposals was “the price for submitting their own,” Mervis wrote. NSF seems happy with the result, claiming that it “saved time and money and may even have improved the quality of reviews.” However, one NSF program manager, who preferred not to be named, expressed concern that “a bonus system based on group consensus could discourage innovative ideas. ‘It rewards people for playing it safe,’ the program manager says.”
► In this week’s Science Careers-produced Working Life, which you’ll find each week inside the Science back cover, postdoc Fanuel Muindi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge takes charge of the “negative committee” inside his own brain.
► In a Science Perspective, D. J. Spiegelhalter of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom “take[s] stock of recent developments in statistical science and examine[s] its role in the age of Big Data.
► In a Retrospective, the University of California, Berkeley’s Michael Levine remembers developmental biologist Walter Ghering, his friend and mentor, who died in May following a traffic accident. Apparently, as a mentor, Ghering was enigmatic. “Walter permitted considerable independence, but was hardly laissez-faire, Levine wrote. “He could be confrontational, and did not hesitate to call us out (particularly me) when he felt we were misbehaving.”
“I found Walter to be a complicated character. He had the mannerisms of an authoritative Herr Doktor Professor, but was also folksy and unaffected and always ready to laugh and joke. He sometimes felt competitive with his students and postdocs, but was also highly supportive and proud of our independent careers. In short, I believe the key to Walter's success was his yin and yang embodiment of old-world scholar and modern competitive scientist. He was able to exude charm and empathy, but nothing we did seemed to be quite good enough. In other words, tough love, possibly the perfect prescription for eliciting the very best efforts from his students and postdocs.”
►Reporting today from the HIV/AIDS meeting in Melborne, Australia, John Cohen and Martin Enserink noted that “the usual joyous hugs of greeting between far-flung colleagues were replaced by hugs of sorrow at the loss of Dutch HIV scientist Joep Lange, a leading light in the field, and at least five others heading to the meeting who were on the Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine on 17 July.” Lange was head of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD). In a dinner speech, David Cooper, head of the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society in Sydney, Australia, said that Lange had “single-handedly convinced the pharmaceutical industry that combination chemotherapy was the way to go.”
Also on the plane was Jacqueline van Tongeren, the communications director at AIGHD and Lange’s longtime partner. Earlier in her career, van Tongeren had been a nurse for patients with HIV/AIDS, “but over the years had taken on more and more managerial tasks at the institute.” Two employees of the Dutch advocacy group “STOP AIDS NOW!” were on the plane: lobbyist Pim de Kuijer and Program Director Martine de Schutter. “Also among the dead is Lucie van Mens, who, according to her LinkedIn profile, was director of support for the Female Health Company, which manufactures female condoms to prevent the spread of HIV.” Glenn Thomas, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, was also killed in the crash.
Others in route to the meeting may have been on the plane: “We actually don’t know the full story,” said Sharon Lewin, co-chair of the meeting and a researcher at the Burnet Institute.
►We do know, however, that the crash claimed the lives of at least two other scientists. Indiana University, Bloomington reports that Karlijn Keijzer, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry there, was among the passengers. Keijzer was a computational chemist, using large-scale simulations to study small-molecule reactions involving metals.
Andrei Anghel, a native of Romania who grew up in Canada, attended the University of Waterloo, then returned to Romania for medical school, was also on the flight. “He wanted to do research and find a cure for cancer,” says Sorin Anghel, Andrei’s father.
Top Image: Ben Salter on Flickr, distributed under a Creative Commons license.