Category Archives: Research

Grants | open access publishing | copyright | plagiarism | pee-review of articles | research data management | funding of science | intellectual property | Australian Research Council (ARC) | National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Ongoing Questions about PLOS ONE’s Peer Review

Scholarly Open Access [Blog] Jeffrey Beall August 2016

The peer review process of PLOS ONE  is questionable with the journal accepting unscientific papers. PLOS ONE increasingly resembles a lonely and un-selective digital repository more than a scholarly publication.

This is evidence that PLOS ONE is using a flawed, automated system for selecting peer reviewers.

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Breast cancer patients could be spared chemotherapy with new genetic test, study shows

Brisbane Times Kate Aubusson August 26 2016

It’s a gruelling decision every breast cancer patient and their doctor must consider: do we need to start chemotherapy, or could we spare you the ravages of the toxic, yet potentially life-saving treatment?
A genetic test could see thousands of Australian women with early-stage breast cancer safely avoid chemotherapy, a landmark trial shows.
Based the genetic profile of their tumours, nearly half of women (46 per cent) with early-stage breast cancer who are at high clinical risk of the cancer returning may not require chemo, found one of the largest and most robust studies of genetic testing published.
The trial investigated whether the test (dubbed MammaPrint in Europe and Australia) could identify which patients had a low genetic risk of their cancer re-emerging among women in the early stages of the most common type of breast cancer: HER2 negative tumours.

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Link to abstract and article in NEJM:

More cancers linked to obesity: study Sarah Wiedersehn Australian Associated Press August 25, 2016

Eight additional types of cancer have been linked to obesity, providing yet another reason to maintain a healthy weight.
US researchers have found a higher body-mass index (BMI) is associated with a greater risk of stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovary, meningioma – a type of brain tumour -, thyroid cancer and blood cancer multiple myeloma.
BMI is a measure of body fat based on a person’s weight in relation to their height.
The cancer risks associated with excess weight were similar for men and women and were consistent across geographic regions – North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, are based on a review of more than 1000 studies of excess weight and cancer risk analysed by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer on Research (IARC), based in France.

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Link to NEJM article:

Climate warming ‘started about 180 years ago’ near the beginning of the Industrial Revolution

ABC News Dani Cooper 25 August 2016

Human-induced global warming began as early as the 1830s just as the Industrial Revolution was gaining steam, a new study shows.
The “surprise” finding suggests the industrialisation of society had an impact on Earth’s temperatures faster than previously thought.
And according to Associate Professor Nerilie Abram of the Australian National University (ANU), the finding also has implications for our understanding of the future impact of human activity on the climate.
The international study, published today in Nature, used detailed reconstructions of climate across the past 500 years to determine when the current warming trend began.

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Link to abstract & article in Nature:

A pub brawl over research funding doesn’t benefit any of us

The Conversation | Rod Lamberts & Will J Grant 24 August 2016

Here we go again. On Monday, we were interested to see The Daily Telegraph’s Natasha Bita and 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley making a strong fist of implying they would make good directors of Australia’s research funding system, supported supported by a college of experts in suburban pubs.

In this piece in the Telegraph, Bita provides us with some examples of what are headlined “‘absurd’ studies that do nothing to advance Australian research”.

Studies lined up for ridicule included a project to “investigate warfare in the ancient Tongan state through a study of earthwork fortifications”; another on “whether colleagues chatting in open-plan offices ‘creates annoyance’ and affects productivity”; and an investigation of the “post World War II evolution of the Australian university campus”.

Hadley joined in the ruck, suggesting that the Australian Research Council (ARC) should be forced to “justify its grants in the front bar of a pub in western Sydney or northside Brisbane”.

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When industry-sponsored research is on the nose

The Conversation Simon Chapman 19 August 2016

The University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre Professor Lisa Bero is perhaps the world’s leading authority on competing interests in science. Bero and others’ 2012 Cochrane Collaboration review investigated the association between pharmaceutical industry funding and research conclusions favourable to the companies funding the research.

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Viruses ‘more dangerous in the morning’

BBC News 16 August 2016

Viruses are more dangerous when they infect their victims in the morning, a University of Cambridge study suggests.
The findings, published in PNAS, showed viruses were 10 times more successful if the infection started in the morning.
And the animal studies found that a disrupted body clock – caused by shift-work or jet lag – was always vulnerable to infection.
The researchers say the findings could lead to new ways of stopping pandemics.
Viruses – unlike bacteria or parasites – are completely dependent on hijacking the machinery inside cells in order to replicate.

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Link to PNAS abstract:

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