Online Editorials

Creepy Encounters

(December 19th, 2014) A month ago, Swiss scientists scared the world with a ghost story. They had devised a robot that made healthy people feel a ‘presence’. We talked to senior author Giulio Rognini to get more details.

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Faster and Cheaper

(December 16th, 2014) No money, little time but lots of ideas and DIY attitude. PhD student Adam Lynch constructed his very own microscope (using USB microscopes and kitchen unit legs) to be able to visualise primary hemocytes of a freshwater snail.

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Lab Video

“We’re not Allowed to Demonstrate the Knowledge we Have”

(December 11th, 2014) Stefan Jansson is a plant physiologist at Umea University. He coordinated the open letter, which called attention to the precarious situation of scientists working with genetically modified plants in Europe. Isabel Torres spoke with him.

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Seeds of Change?

(December 8th, 2014) The GMO craze has put European plant science in danger for some time. An open letter has drawn public attention to the problem but is it already too late?

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The Appeal of ‘Mars’ Adds Some Glamour to Research

(December 3rd, 2014) A Research Letter by Jeremy Garwood from the corner of the planet Mars located in a greenhouse in the Netherlands.

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DIY Peer Review

(November 28th, 2014) Evaluating your own manuscript makes publishing so much faster but this does make it legitimate. Open Access publisher BioMed Central has recently been hit by a peer review scam.

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Dispatches from the US (3)

(November 25th, 2014) The month of November saw the announcement of the Breakthrough Science Award winners and the first anniversary of BioRxiv. In Washington, the 44th international Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting was held and the White House released its new immigration policy.

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The new COMPADRE for Plant Ecologists

(November 21st, 2014) Ecology has a new star: the COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database. The engine comprises demographic information on 598 plant species worldwide. It’s becoming an invaluable tool in analysing big amounts of data and decreasing redundancy between original research data.

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When Evidence becomes a Nuisance

(November 18th, 2014) The new European Commission is no longer interested in retaining a Chief Scientific Advisor, CSA. This not only silences Anne Glover’s plainly audible voice in Brussels, it also means there will be no successor. It’s a catastrophic loss, thinks Brynja Adam-Radmanic.

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Love is in the Air (or Water)

(November 14th, 2014) Not only human males put on the best perfumes if they want to impress the ladies, tilapia fish pursue the same strategy. Portuguese and German researchers identified and characterised one of the fish’s pheromones.

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Back to the Roots

(November 11th, 2014) History can be complicated, especially if it’s the evolutionary history of intracellular parasites. Studying a newly discovered parasite of water fleas, Swiss scientists found an answer to one of the notorious “what came first” riddles.

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