Volunteer with us!

The Right to Research Coalition is growing quickly. Over the past few months we’ve run a grant program (Generation Open Grants), started organising a major conference (OpenCon 2014) with satellite events, supported projects (e.g. Open Access Button and others) and even started a secret project we can’t yet talk about. We’re also starting to massively scale up our member engagement work to better support them.

This is all important, interesting work and if it wasn’t for the limitations of human physiology we’d do more. To carry forward key work with our members and projects we’d like to invite you to join the team as a volunteer. We’re looking to recruit for 3 positions.

  1. We’re looking to bring on two students or early career researchers chairs for our co-ordinating committees. These chairs will help facilitate the work of the committee’s in close collaboration with us. Please find a fuller description of the role, tasks and benefits here.
  2. To support all the Coalition’s work, including OpenCon 2014 we’d like to work with a communications officer to create tweets, Facebook posts and blog posts. This role would also be key in helping to create a communications strategy. Please find a fuller description of the role, tasks and benefits here

In general, all roles with the Coalition involves a large amount of responsibility and are perfect for highly motivated candidates who want to do great things. You’ll work as part of a fun, relaxed but committed team with significant opportunities for mentorship, personal development and international travel. We like people to stick around for a long time, but you can take time off when you need it and there isn’t a set “term time”.  

Ideas and tips you need to pull of a great Open Access Week

Open Access Week is drawing ever closer, now a mere 7 weeks away and this year it promises to be bigger and better than ever. The week has grown in just a few short years from students on just a handful of campuses working together, into a truly international event. This year the week’s spotlight is on young people with the theme “Generation Open”. The week will celebrate the mammoth contribution we’ve made to the Open Access movement, but also the address the unique challenges we face.

 

The week is already shaping up to be a huge success, with students from Nepal, to Nigeria and the USA planning events of all shapes and sizes. This year our Generation Open Grants (more here) drew a huge number of high quality applicants and we’re excited to have been able to support a great set of events. We were also thrilled that over 1000 OpenCon 2014 applicants also indicated they were going to get involved in Open Access Week.

 

To support you all in taking part in the week on Friday September 19th, at 6PM GMT+1 join us for an hour of ideas, tips and questions for running a great Open Access Week event. Sign up below and we’ll remind you closer to the time to join us. You can tweet us questions throughout (@R2RC) or leave a comment on the video. If you can’t join live though, you won’t miss out, we’ll have a video up straight after!

 

In the mean time, if you can’t hold the excitement in share the page with your friends, colleagues and anyone else who will listen!  

 

Watch on youtube here: http://youtu.be/UeaULYbiFz0

 

 Sign up below to be notified, or grab a google calendar invite here:

 

One more week to apply for a GOGrant!

Seven years ago, students partnered with SPARC to organize a day of coordinated on-campus action in support of Open Access that quickly grew into International Open Access Week. Students have continued their leadership on Open Access and this month the Right to Research Coalition announced Generation Open Grants, a new initiative to support students and early career researchers in hosting events and raising awareness during the 2014 International Open Access Week, from October 20th through the 26th. The grants build upon this year’s Open Access Week theme of Generation Open, which will highlight the importance of students and early career researchers and explore how the transition toward Open Access affects researchers at different stages of their careers.

Applications are still open and will close in under a week on August 18th at midnight Pacific Daylight Time (GMT – 7:00). Winning applications will be announced by August 29th. You can find more information on the Generation Open Grants as well as how to apply here.

The Right to Research Coalition will fund a total of $4,000 in Generation Open Grants, ranging in size from $250 up to a maximum of $1,000 per organization. Guidance on expectations for grants of various sizes can be found on the Generation Open Grant homepage.

Generation Open Grants can be put toward a range of events, from watch parties for the SPARC-World Bank Open Access Week Kickoff Event to campus-wide campaigns and mini-conferences. There is a final chance to discuss your application this Thursday, August 14 at 5:00 PM-7:00 PM (GMT+1), you can join to discuss your application here (via Google Hangouts).

Adapted from a Right to Research announcement on July 22nd – www.righttoresearch.org/blog/apply-now-generation-open-grants-to-support-young-.shtml

Apply Now! Generation Open Grants to Support Young Researcher-Led Open Access Week Events

 

Today, the Right to Research Coalition announces the Generation Open Grants, a new initiative to support students and early career researchers in hosting events and raising awareness during the 2014 International Open Access Week, from October 20th through the 26th. The grants build upon this year’s Open Access Week theme of Generation Open, which will highlight the importance of students and early career researchers and explore how the transition toward Open Access affects researchers at different stages of their careers.

 

The Right to Research Coalition will fund a total of $4,000 in Generation Open Grants, ranging in size from $250 up to a maximum of $1,000 per organization. Those applying for a grant will have the ability to choose what level of funding they feel is appropriate for their proposed event. Guidance on expectations for grants of various sizes can be found on the Generation Open Grant homepage.

 

The Generation Open Grants can be put toward a range of events, from watch parties for the SPARC-World Bank Open Access Week Kickoff Event to campus-wide campaigns and mini-conferences. This year’s grant program builds on previous Right to Research Coalition efforts during Open Access Week, most notably a partnership with the Medical Students’ Association of Kenya which educated nearly half of Kenyan medical students about Open Access during the week. The Generation Open Grants will seek to identify and support innovative new ideas for events and awareness raising strategies to engage peers and/or the wider campus community on Open Access. A perfect example of this being OpenUCT’s “Open Access Challenge”.

 

Seven years ago, students partnered with SPARC to organize a day of coordinated on-campus events in support of Open Access that quickly grew into International Open Access Week. The Generation Open Grants will support and advance the involvement of students and early career researchers that lies at the heart of Open Access Week.

 

Applications are now open and will close on August 18th at midnight Pacific Daylight Time (GMT – 7:00). Winning applications will be announced by August 29th. You can find more information on the Generation Open Grants as well as how to apply here

OpenUCT’s Access Challenge

Participants hard at work

One of the greatest challenges in raising awareness around open access is engaging students in a meaningful and productive way. Last year at the OpenUCT Initiative we were faced with this task. Most students take access for granted until they leave their respective tertiary institutions and are confronted with nasty pay-walls. Panel discussions, information sessions and debates fail to entice students. So how do we expose students to the lack of access, or as I like to call to “lackcess”, they will experience once they are handed their degrees and sent on their way? Our answer was the Access Challenge.

The idea for the Access Challenge stemmed from open and closed medical and scientific studies run concurrently to see which of the two was more successful. Studies that were open to the public domain concluded faster and were more successful, this is because more people were allowed to access the study, to test results and contribute and critique the process. With this in mind, we at the OpenUCT Initiative based the Access Challenge on the open-versus-closed study design.

Four laptops were setup in a highly trafficked campus space– two laptops were linked to the University of Cape Town network, while the other two were not. We purchased internet bundles for the laptops deprived of campus network access. Questions were set whereby students were asked to access certain papers, or answer questions trapped behind pay-walls. Those without UCT network access struggled to answer many questions and access certain journals, while those with campus access breezed through the challenge without any fuss.

The challenge attracts a crowd

Once the challenge was complete we asked students what they thought of the exercise. These were some of the responses:

“Access outside the confines and privileges of UCT can be challenging.”

“Academic institutions access to journals is very helpful. Personally, I cannot afford to pay.”

“Individual articles are expensive and sometimes reading the preview…gives you the wrong idea.”

Instead of preaching to students about Open Access, we got students to think about it for themselves. This exercise raised the awareness we struggled to achieve in other forums with students.

Please feel free to appropriate a similar strategy during your OA Week activities and let us know how it goes. If you would like to see what else we got up to during OA Week 2013, visit http://openuct.uct.ac.za/blog/wrap-open-access-week-2013.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact me at: Uvania.n@gmail.com

Posted on behalf of the Author: Uvania Naidoo

Call for OpenCon 2014 Satellite Event Partners

Satellite Home | Announcement | Event Ideas | Register to Host
Get Support | Logistics | FAQ | Resources + Tools

Since announcing OpenCon 2014: the Student and Early Career Researcher Conference on Open Access, Open Education and Open Data 6 weeks ago, we’ve received an overwhelming amount of interest and support from the community. More than 500 people from well over 75 countries have signed up for updates, many of whom have volunteered to help make the meeting a success. Organisations from across the Open communities have also stepped up to support the meeting with sponsorship, including the Max Planck Society, eLife, Overleaf by WriteLaTeX and a growing number of university libraries. Today, we’re announcing a call for partners in organizing OpenCon 2014 satellites events around the world to bring the energy of the in-person event to those unable to attend the conference in Washington, DC.

The predecessor to OpenCon 2014 saw five applications for every available space at the meeting, and OpenCon is on course to exceed this. For those who can’t attend the main meeting, satellite events will provide a way to participate in the conference, join the growing OpenCon community, and become Open advocates by attending an event closer to home. As with the main conference, satellite events will provide a place to conceptualize, catalyze, and launch initiatives advancing Open Access, Open Data and Open Education. Satellite events will also serve as an excellent opportunity to capitalise on excitement generated from International Open Access Week and can reflect the fact that conversations surrounding Open Access, Open Education and Open Data are not homogeneous and vary country by country and institution.

Satellite event partners will have the latitude to design an event which suits their needs, while being supported and guided from peers, OpenCon 2014 organisers, and the Right to Research Coalition. Satellite events can be held concurrently, time shifted, or on different days. They can rely exclusively on OpenCon 2014 keynotes and panels for programming, or they can be a mix of content from the main OpenCon meeting and locally organized presentations. Satellite events are expected to range in size from small viewing parties to more expansive events that include many local advocates and experts to provide their perspective. We’re committed to supporting local partners. We’ve developed a support pack which provides ideas on running impactful events, guidance on doing a professional meeting, access to support, resources and more. Support materials for satellite events will also be available in Spanish, and potentially other languages, to reach potential partners in various countries and increase the diversity of events.

Many organizations have already expressed interest in hosting satellite events. John Hammersley, co-founder of WriteLaTeX, is one such organizing partner: “We’re delighted to further support OpenCon 2014 and make it even more international by holding a satellite event in London. OpenCon is all about getting students and early career researchers involved in these key topics and by holding a satellite event we can help the event reach and include as many people as possible. ”

Individuals or organisations interested in planning an event can learn more, find support and download resources here: http://www.righttoresearch.org/act/opencon/satellite. Hosting a satellite event can be a great way to continue the conversation around International Open Access Week and to build contacts and momentum in your area. The first of a series of drop-in calls for those interested in running events will be later this week from 9-10am GMT on Friday the 17th of July. Details on joining can be found here: http://www.righttoresearch.org/act/opencon/satellite/support.

OpenCon 2014 Announces the Max Planck Society, eLife, and Overleaf as Sponsors

The organizers of OpenCon 2014 are pleased to announce three new sponsors for the meeting that have made a significant commitment to support student and early career researcher involvement in Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data.  The sponsors are: 

  Presenting Sponsor:                                Webcast Sponsor:                  Supporting Sponsor:
      The Max Planck Society                                        eLife                                        Overleaf               

                     

The Max Planck Gesellschaft is committed to support Open Access on all levels,” said Dr. Georg Botz, Coordinator of Open Access Policy for the Max Planck Society. “It is crucial to foster the engagement of students and early career researchers and to set free the power of the next generation of scholars to create change in order to overcome the inertia of the current scholarly publishing system. Therefore the Max Planck Gesellschaft is proud to support OpenCon 2014 as a valuable complement to the Berlin Open Access conference series.”

The generous contributions from each of these organizations will enable the participation of dozens of students and early career researchers from around the world, regardless of their financial circumstances.  We’re proud to work with such strong partners in making OpenCon 2014 a reality and putting the next generation at the heart of efforts to open up research outputs of all kinds.

“Early-career researchers — PhD students, post-docs, and new group leaders — represent the future of science” said Dr. Mark Patterson, executive director of eLife. “We are delighted to support OpenCon and early-career researchers in general, to ensure that these voices are at the heart of advocacy and policy changes aimed at transforming research communication and accelerating discovery.” 

These sponsoring organizations are already actively working with early career researchers, and one, Overleaf, is actually itself led by young scientists.

“As a team of young scientists ourselves, we’re delighted to be supporting OpenCon 2014 to help develop tools, materials and a community for early stage researchers to learn, collaborate and gain experience in scientific research,” said Dr. John Hammersley, Co-founder and CEO, WriteLaTeX and Overleaf. “With a large student userbase already, we’re planning to create a dedicated section on Overleaf to help collate and disseminate resources, templates and examples from OpenCon 2014 for early stage researchers to get started on their first scientific writing projects.”

We appreciate the commitment of these three leading organizations, and if your organization or institution is interested in joining our growing list of partners by sponsoring OpenCon 2014, please be in touch by emailing nick [at] arl [dot] org.

OpenCon 2014 Announces First Travel Scholarship Sponsors

Inaugural Sponsors Encourage Others to Consider Support

The Right to Research Coalition and SPARC are pleased to announce the support of three leading research libraries for OpenCon 2014: The Student and Early Career Researcher Conference on Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data. The libraries at Emory University, Grand Valley State University, and the University of Kansas have each committed to sponsor a travel scholarship to OpenCon 2014 for a student or early career researcher on their campus.

OpenCon 2014 will convene participants from around the world, and serve as a powerful catalyst for projects led by the next generation of scholars and researchers to advance the conference’s three focus areas.

The scholarships provided by these sponsoring libraries will reserve a fully funded place at the meeting, including travel, for a participant from each university.  Each sponsorship accomplishes two goals: providing the selected attendee from each institution with experience and training on OpenCon’s three issue areas to bring back to campus; and helping to support the attendance of other leading young researchers from around the world who would not otherwise be able to participate.

The Right to Research Coalition and SPARC encourage other libraries and institutions to consider making a similar commitment.  You can find more information about sponsoring a travel scholarship as well as other sponsorship opportunities here: www.righttoresearch.org/act/opencon/sponsor.

Below, you can read why each of our first travel scholarship sponsors see it as a sound investment for their library and an important commitment to support student and early career researcher involvement in opening up scholarly communication.  A contact email address for each is provided if you would like to contact our inaugural scholarship sponsors directly to discuss their motivations for sponsorship. 

Lorraine Haricombe: Dean of Libraries, University of Kansas
Contact: aemmett [at] ku [dot] edu

“The University of Kansas Libraries enthusiastically supports the travel sponsorships program for graduate students and early career researchers from around the globe to attend OpenCon 2014. We strongly believe that the current generation of graduate students and early career researchers stand poised to not only inherit, but also shape the scholarly communication landscape. OpenCon promises to bring together the best young minds and budding advocates for openness in the scholarly communication ecosystem and offer them the chance to learn and consult on the system that is theirs to shape.  We recognize the importance and readiness of the next generation of scholars becoming knowledgeable and experienced advocates for an equitable and innovative system of scholarly communication. We are proud to be a sponsor of the inaugural OpenCon conference in North America!”
 

Lisa Macklin: Director, Scholarly Communications Office, Emory University Libraries and Information Technology
Contact: lmackli [at] emory [dot] edu 

“Emory University Library and Information Technology Services is pleased to support a Travel Scholarship to OpenCon 2014. The goal of Emory’s open access policy, repositories, and publishing fund is to distribute research by Emory authors as widely as possible through open access, increasing the impact of that research, and also to raise awareness of open access for scholarship, educational materials and data. Having an Emory student or early career researcher attend OpenCon 2014 will provide them with valuable experience and an international perspective that they can share to benefit others on our campus. We’re planning to host local events afterward for the Emory delegate to share their experiences with the Emory community and advance the conversation around opening up access to research results. We think OpenCon 2014 directly supports this goal and is also in keeping with Emory’s vision to create “positive transformation in the world through courageous leadership in teaching, research, scholarship, health care, and social action.”
  

Lee Van Orsdel: Dean of University Libraries, Grand Valley State University
Contact: vanorsdl[at] gvsu [dot] edu 

“There is good reason to believe that today’s graduate and undergraduate students will see the advent of a truly open system of global information sharing for text and data of all kinds.  ‘Open,’ to them, is the natural state of things, a value they were literally raised on.  Today’s junior faculty—early career researchers—will have opportunity to shape the transition to that better world.  It’s a brilliant plan to bring the two groups together for OpenCon 2014, where they can deepen their understanding of the issues, share ideas and experiences, receive advocacy training and hammer out strategies to achieve the changes both want to see.  Grand Valley State University Libraries are proud to sponsor a scholarship to support this fresh and promising approach to building stronger coalitions for change.“
 

You can find more information about OpenCon 2014, sign up for updates on the meeting, and learn about sponsorship opportunities at www.righttoresearch.org/act/opencon.
 

R2RC Adds Joseph McArthur as New Assistant Director

The Right to Research Coalition (R2RC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Joseph McArthur as the coalition’s first Assistant Director. Joe joins the R2RC as an accomplished Open Access advocate, having co-founded and co-led the Open Access Button. The Open Access Button aims to illustrate the impact of paywalls around scholarly research articles, and the project has gained significant attention both within and beyond the Open Access community, including from the Guardian, Scientific American and EU science ministers. Joe also has a strong background in working with student organizations, including many years as a leader within Medsin-UK, the UK’s largest student run global health network. 

As the Assistant Director of the Right to Research Coalition, Joe’s primary responsibility will be in further strengthening the coalition’s engagement with its membership of more than 75 student organizations, which collectively represent nearly 7 million students in over 100 countries around the world. While based in London, Joe will play a large role in organizing and amplifying the student voice to advocate for policies promoting Open Access to scholarly outputs across the EU and beyond. Joe will also support preparations for OpenCon 2014, the student and early career researcher conference on Open Access, Open Education and Open Data, as well as for International Open Access Week. Finally, Joe will continue to play a major role in leading the Open Access Button toward continued success as the project enters its next stage of development and nears a major release.

You can get in touch with Joe by email and twitter.

###

The Right to Research Coalition is an international alliance of graduate and undergraduate student organizations, which collectively represent nearly 7 million students in over 100 countries around the world, that advocate for and educate students about open methods of scholarly publishing.  The Right to Research Coalition is supported by SPARC.

“Generation Open” to be Theme for 2014 Open Access Week

The Right to Research Coalition is excited to share that the theme for this year’s International Open Access Week will be “Generation Open.” The theme will focus on the importance of students and early career researchers as well as how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers.

The full announcement from SPARC is copied below, and we will have more announcements in the coming weeks about webcasts and other resources from SPARC and the R2RC to help organizations plan Open Access Week events around the theme of “Generation Open.”

To kick things off, SPARC will host a webcast to help advocates begin planning local events to celebrate the week on Monday, May 19th, at 2:30pm EDT / 7:30pm BST. The webcast is free and open to all, and you can find more information and a link to register here: http://www.sparc.arl.org/initiatives/openaccessweek/2014/kickoffwebcast.

 

Original URL: http://www.sparc.arl.org/initiatives/openaccessweek/2014/announcement

For Immediate Release
May 8, 2014

Contact: Ranit Schmelzer
202-538-1065
media@sparc.arl.org

2014 International Open Access Week to Be Held In October
“Generation Open” Theme Highlights Involvement of Students and Early Career Researchers

Washington, DC – The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) announced today that the theme for this year’s International Open Access Week is “Generation Open”.  The theme will highlight the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for change in the short-term, through institutional and governmental policy, and as the future of the Academy upon whom the ultimate success of the Open Access movement depends.  The theme will also explore how changes in scholarly publishing affect scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers.

To be held from October 20 – 26, 2014, International Open Access Week is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

“Open Access Week has blossomed into an event celebrated at hundreds of institutions on every continent across the world,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC.  “This year’s theme reflects the importance of putting our future scholars and researchers at the core of the shift to an open system of scholarly communication.”

The theme “Generation Open” will return International Open Access Week to its foundation.  Begun in 2007 as the National Day of Action for Open Access, the event was originally a partnership between SPARC and students who organized local events on a handful of campuses across the United States.  Since then, both student involvement in Open Access and Open Access Week itself have grown exponentially. 

SPARC’s student program, The Right to Research Coalition, has grown to more than 75 member student organizations, which collectively represent nearly seven million students in more than 100 countries around the world.  The energy, creativity, and passion of the next generation that sparked the National Day of Action for Open Access in 2007 can now be seen in projects like the Open Access Button, a student-developed tool that helps users find freely available copies of pay walled articles.

SPARC encourages advocates around the world to use the week as a catalyst for raising awareness of Open Access and to build a dialogue with the next generation about shaping the system of scholarly communication that they will inherit.

On Monday, May 19th at 2:30pm EDT (7:30pm BST), SPARC will host a kickoff webcast to help advocates begin planning Open Access Week events, featuring advice from experts who have organized successful events during previous weeks. More information and a link to register can be found at www.sparc.arl.org/initiatives/openaccessweek/2014/kickoffwebcast.

###

SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system.  Developed by the Association of Research Libraries, SPARC has become a catalyst for change.  Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries.  More information can be found at www.arl.org/sparc

A Year in Review: 2013 PLOS ONE Papers in the Media

 

6647478555_f408a731f9_oImage Credit: Yutaka Tsutano

 

Tired of year-end lists? We know you’ve got room for at least one more. 2013 was a great year for PLOS ONE media coverage: We had over 5,000 news stories on over 1450 published articles.

The PLOS ONE press team poured tirelessly over the list to whittle down the papers that stood out the most. In celebration of the New Year, we’d like to share some of these titles with you.

Zipping back to January 2013 and moving forward from there, here they are:

 

1. Flowers Flowering Faster

journal.pone.0053788.g002_smallImage credit: PLOS ONE article

In “Record-Breaking Early Flowering in the Eastern United States,” US researchers used 161 years of historical reports—initiated by Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold in 1935—to track spring flowering times. They discovered that exceptionally warm spring temperatures in Massachusetts and Wisconsin in 2010 and 2012 may have resulted in the earliest recorded spring in the eastern United States. Furthermore, scientists indicate that these advanced flowering times could be predicted based on the historical data. This research received media attention from the The New York Times, National Geographic, and NPR.

 

2. Lend an Ear?

journal.pone.0056506.g002Image credit: PLOS ONE article

US scientists 3D-printed a human ear using collagen hydrogels (a network of polymers that form a gel with water) derived from cow cartilage in the lab. They shared their results in “High-Fidelity Tissue Engineering of Patient-Specific Auricles for Reconstruction of Pediatric Microtia and Other Auricular Deformities.” The authors suggest that this advancement may be a significant first step toward creating patient-specific tissue implants for those who require ear prosthesis. Popular Science, Discovery News, and NPR covered this research.

 

3. Central African Elephants in Big Trouble

journal.pone.0059469.g007Image credit: PLOS ONE article

African forest elephant populations may have declined by an alarming 62% in the last decade, according to the study “Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa.” The authors suggest that this dramatic drop is largely due to continuing illegal ivory trade and inadequate efforts to put a stop to it. ScienceNow, TIME, Slate, Smithsonian, and many others covered this story.

 

4. Wrapped up in a Book

moriza-300x300Image credit: moriza

For everyone who enjoys a good page-turner, researchers in the study “The Expression of Emotions in 20th Century Books” indicate that recent British and American books have fewer emotional “mood” words than they did in the earlier half of the 20th century. What’s more, the study’s authors provide evidence that American authors express more emotion than British authors, and that newer American books use more words conveying fear than older ones. This research was covered by the The New York Times Arts Beat, Jezebel, our EveryONE blog, and Nature.

 

5. Gaming for All Ages

journal.pone.0061624.g002Image credit: PLOS ONE article

In the article “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Cognitive Training Using a Visual Speed of Processing Intervention in Middle Aged and Older Adults,” researchers from multiple institutions in Iowa discovered that when middle-aged and older adults played video games, they scored better on cognitive function tests. The authors hope that these results might help us slow cognitive decline in older individuals. This paper was covered by the The Wall Street Journal, Nature, and The Telegraph.

 

6. Seafood Watch for Arctic Foxes?

journal.pone.0060879.g001-1Image credit: PLOS ONE article

In another saddening story of declining wild animal populations, researchers studying the “Correlates between Feeding Ecology and Mercury Levels in Historical and Modern Arctic Foxes (Vulpes lagopus)” found that mercury levels in seafood may be the culprit. They emphasize that overall direct exposure to toxic materials may not be as important as the feeding ecology and opportunities of predators, like the arctic fox, that have a very marine-based diet, which may contain these toxic substances. This research received media attention from Wired UK, Scientific American, and The Guardian.

 

7. Cancer in Neandertals

journal.pone.0064539.g001Image credit: PLOS ONE article

At least one Neandertal 120,000 years ago had a benign bone tumor in a rib, according to researchers in the study “Fibrous Dysplasia in a 120,000+ Year Old Neandertal from Krapina, Croatia.” The authors note, however, that they cannot comment on any health effects or the overall health condition of the individual without further evidence. This article received media attention from sources including the BBC, The New York Times, ScienceNOW, and Gizmodo.

 

8. Who Needs Rows of Teeth When You’ve Got a Tail to Slap Sardines?

journal.pone.0067380.g004

Image credit: PLOS ONE article

Thresher Sharks Use Tail-Slaps as a Hunting Strategy” contains the first video evidence of long-tailed sharks tail-slapping to stun their sardine prey. The authors suggest that this method may be effective when hunting prey that swim in schools. A Scientific American podcast, National Geographic’s Phenomena blogs, and NBC News were some of the media outlets that covered this research.

 

9. Contagious Yawning in Dogs and Chimps

Video credit: PLOS ONE article

Yawning animals were the focus of more than one PLOS ONE article in 2013. In one study, “Familiarity Bias and Physiological Responses in Contagious Yawning by Dogs Support Link to Empathy,” Japanese researchers found that dogs yawn more often in response to their owners’ yawns rather than a stranger’s, and received media coverage from The Guardian, CBS News, and The Telegraph. The authors of another research article “Chimpanzees Show a Developmental Increase in Susceptibility to Contagious Yawning: A Test of the Effect of Ontogeny and Emotional Closeness on Yawn Contagion” showed that chimpanzees appear to develop a contagion for yawning as they get older, just as humans do, and this article received media attention from The New York Times Science Takes, Los Angeles Times, and Scientific American Blogs.

 

10. What, the Cat? Oh, He’s Harml…

1091487059_7d9e530e28_oImage credit: Denis Defreyne

Our favorite parasite Toxoplasma gondii strikes again. Mice are normally terrified of cats, and rightly so, but Berkeley researchers (including a PLOS founder Mike Eisen) in “Mice Infected with Low-Virulence Strains of Toxoplasma gondii Lose Their Innate Aversion to Cat Urine, Even after Extensive Parasite Clearance” show that mouse exposure to the parasite, carried in cat feces, may alter the mouse’s brain, causing the mouse to permanently lose their fear of cats. The story received coverage from several news outlets, including a CNN segment by Charlie Rose, BBC, National Geographic Phenomena, and Nature.

 

11. Just in Time for the Movie: Jurassic Park is Fake

740px-Spider_in_amber_(1)Image credit: Wikipedia

Sorry in advance for the disheartening news: Jurassic Park will likely remain a work of fiction. In “Absence of Ancient DNA in Sub-Fossil Insect Inclusions Preserved in ‘Anthropocene’ Colombian Copal,” UK researchers were unable to find any evidence of ancient DNA in specimens of prehistoric insects fossilized in hardened tree sap. Conveniently, the article published right when the newest Jurassic Park film series was announced, and was covered by San Francisco Chronicle, The Telegraph, The Conversation, and others.

 

12. Not Now, Honey – The Pressure Just Dropped

journal.pone.0075004.g001Image credit: PLOS ONE article

Insects avoid sex when a drop in atmospheric pressure occurs, which usually precedes rain, according to researchers in the study “Weather Forecasting by Insects: Modified Sexual Behaviour in Response to Atmospheric Pressure Changes.” Injury from rain can be deadly for some insect species, so the authors suggest that the insects modified their behavior to enhance survival (good choice!). The article has received attention from nearly 20 news outlets, including Nature, Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, and ScienceNOW.

 

13. Dinos with Squishy Joints and Tiny Arms

 

journal.pone.0078733.g001

Image credit: PLOS ONE article

Dinosaurs were a popular item in PLOS ONE in 2013, especially with the launch of PLOS ONE’s New Sauropod Gigantism Collection. The most popular article was a simulation of how the largest dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus, might have walked in “March of the Titans: The Locomotor Capabilities of Sauropod Dinosaurs,” which was covered in Washington Post and The Guardian. Another group of researchers showed that squishy joints were a major factor in the massiveness of saurischian dinosaurs in “What Lies Beneath: Sub-Articular Long Bone Shape Scaling in Eutherian Mammals and Saurischian Dinosaurs Suggests Different Locomotor Adaptations for Gigantism.” The article was covered by Gizmodo, Inside Science, and Discovery. Finally, a new super-predator larger than T. rex lived 80 million years ago and was described in “Tyrant Dinosaur Evolution Tracks the Rise and Fall of Late Cretaceous Oceans” and covered by BBC, Nature, and Discovery.

 

14. Huh?

journal.pone.0078273.g001Image credit: PLOS ONE article

The title of this next study says it all: “Is “Huh?” a Universal Word? Conversational Infrastructure and the Convergent Evolution of Linguistic Items.” The authors of this article suggest that it is, and that at least ten countries use a variation of this word to verbally express confusion. The article was featured in NPR, The New York Times, and LA Times.

 

15. Little Red Riding Hood: The Evolution of a Folk Tale

journal.pone.0078871.g004Image credit: PLOS ONE article

Little Red Riding Hood has very deep roots, as the authors of “The Phylogeny of Little Red Riding Hood” show in their article. It has made its way across China to Europe and back again, but where did it begin? The authors indicate that phylogenetic methods (like the branched chart above) may be a new way to analyze cultural relationships among folk tales and oral narratives. This article received coverage in ScienceNOW, National Geographic, and Nature.

Thank you to all of our Academic Editors, reviewers, and authors for making these articles a reality. Needless to say, PLOS ONE staff cannot wait to see what lies ahead in 2014!

The post A Year in Review: 2013 PLOS ONE Papers in the Media appeared first on EveryONE.

OA Advocate Jack Andraka to appear on this Wednesday’s Colbert Report

Open Access advocate Jack Andraka will appear on the Colbert Report, this Wednesday October 30th at 11:30pm EDT.

The winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Jack Andraka has captivated the world with his novel diagnostic for pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer that, according to Jack’s trials, has significantly improved upon tests currently available on the market.  

Jack Andraka is a perfect example of the power of Open Access, the free availability of all academic research articles online with full reuse rights. In his own words, Jack used free online academic journals “religiously” in his research, as well as the National Institute of Health’s online article database, called PubMed Central (PMC).

Jack has become an outspoken advocate for Open Access and a leader among a group of outstanding students who are advancing research, using articles they can find freely online. According to Jack, “there are millions people like [him]” who are trying to tap into the power of the Internet to advance research, but that “paywalls are stopping [them].”    

Earlier this year, the Right to Research Coalition spoke to some of Jack’s fellow Intel International Science and Engineering Fair participants about their difficulties in accessing research articles and the impact Open Access could have in allowing them to make discoveries similar to Jack’s. As Kelsey Barter, a Junior from University High School in Arizona said, “It’s really important to have access to the literature because it’s the foundation of anything that is going to happen in the sciences.”

Students interviewed in the video include:

  • Jack Andraka
    Sophomore, North County High School
    Glen Burnie, Maryland

  • Kelsey Barter
    Junior, University High School
    Tucson, Arizona

  • Thabit Pulak
    Junior, Richardson High School
    Richardson, Texas

  • Swetha Revanur
    Freshman, Evergreen Valley High School
    San Jose, California

  • Brittany Wenger
    Senior, The Out-of-Door Academy
    Sarasota, Florida

  • Catherine Wong
    Senior, Morristown High School
    Morristown, New Jersey

Open Access promises to benefit students of all disciplines by giving them access to the cutting edge research literature immediately, rather than making them wait until they graduate to an institution that can afford subscription bundles that often run into the millions of dollars. As Jack has proven so vividly, innovation can and often does come from unexpected places, and Open Access will help empower many students who are also making significant contributions to scientific and scholarly advancement at an early age.

You can see Jack in the guest sidebar on the Colbert Nation website at http://www.colbertnation.com.

This interview is presented by the Right to Research Coalition, with support from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the Society for Science and the Public.

For press inquiries, contact Nick Shockey, Director of the Right to Research Coalition
Phone: 202-296-2296
Email: nick [at] arl [dot] org

OA Week Webcast: The Next Generation of Open Access Policies

Join us on Tuesday, October 22nd at 12pm EDT (9am PDT / 6pm CEST) for a live webcast discussion with Juan Pablo Alperin, a PhD candidate at the Stanford School of Education who spearheaded a successful campaign to pass the first open access policy specifically for graduate students.  You can read the full text of the Stanford policy here.

In a strong showing of support for Open Access, the policy was approved by the student body in a nearly unanimous vote, with more than 95% of votes cast in favor and 59% of students participating in the vote.  Juan will provide an introduction to the policy itself as well as the strategies and tactics he used to build support for the policy before it was put to a vote. The webcast should help equip students (and those interested in working with students) with the basics for replicating the Stanford graduate student open access policy on their campus.

To join the webcast, log on to http://bit.ly/nextgenoapolicy at 12pm EST (9am PDT / 6pm CEST) on Tuesday, October 22nd.

Juan Pablo Alperin, Stanford School of Education

Juan Pablo Alperin is a doctoral student in the Stanford School of Education as well as a researcher and systems developer with the Public Knowledge Project. He holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Geography from the University of Waterloo, Canada. In the last five years, Juan has delivered workshops for journal editors all over Latin America with a focus on promoting Open Access to scholarship, has been an invited speaker at numerous international conferences on scholarly publishing, continues to work on the award-winning software Open Journal Systems (OJS), and was the lead developer on the recently released Open Monograph Press (OMP). While at Stanford, Juan is focused on understanding the effects of Open Access in Latin America, where over 90% of research is made freely available to the public.