Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council (Tübitak) has launched an investigation into a company that publishes articles in return for money in 15 different journals, including 261 articles written by the company’s owner who has no academic title, Hürriyet newspaper reported on Monday.
Tübitak sent notifications to universities about the company, which also has investments in the car wash, pest control, organic agriculture and cosmetic sectors, all managed from one office, Hürriyet said. An organisation named Istanbul Science and Academics Association also uses the same office address.
“The journals say they have international scientific boards. However, it is not clear whether those people on the boards have any relation with those journals in reality. It is unethical for people who work for the journals to have numerous articles published in the same journals,” Tübitak said in its notification.
The company takes fees for articles submitted to the journals and also raises money through payments made for participation in academic conferences organised by the company, according to Tübitak.
Murat Korkmaz, the owner of Güven Plus Grup Inc., used academic titles such as associate professor and professor in his correspondence and published 261 articles in different academic disciplines in his company’s journals between 2011 and 2016, Hürriyet said.
Tübitak also said that the company used the names of prominent Turkish academics on its website to promote itself.
Here are some of the most interesting research to have appeared in top science journals last week
Published in Current Biology
Have trouble sleeping? Buy a rocking bed. Two studies published last week have found out that continuous rocking helps in falling asleep faster and sleeping more soundly. In the first study, 18 adults underwent a sleep monitoring programme in a lab and the researchers noted that the group that slept on a gentle rocking bed had more non-REM deep sleep. The second study carried on mice was able to point out that the rocking promoted sleep through a rhythmic stimulation of the vestibular system(the region in the inner ear that maintains balance).
Expanding jelly tablet
Published in Nature Communications
Similar to the growing water jelly balls you have at home, MIT engineers have designed a soft tablet that can grow in your stomach and stay there for about a month. But why? The researchers say that this hydrogel device can be used to closely study the digestive system. It can even help monitor medication-taking patterns, track cancers or ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract
King-sized in Kuiper
Published in Nature Astronomy
The Kuiper Belt, the doughnut-shaped ring of icy objects beyond Neptune, has always fascinated astronomers. Believed to be leftovers of the early Solar System, objects floating in this belt help to understand the formation and evolution of our Solar System. Now astronomers have discovered a Kuiper belt object with a radius of about 1.3 km, the largest discovered so far. They hope to decipher more about the growth phase of objects and planets in the outer Solar System.
‘GO dough’ graphene
Credit: Northwestern University
Published in Nature Communications
What happens when scientists awaken the child in them? They create play dough with a twist. A group of researchers from Northwestern University, USA has turned graphene oxide(GO) into a soft dough that can be shaped into 3D structures. The GO dough makes storage and transport of graphene oxide easier. It also has enhanced the mechanical properties of graphene and can be used to make electrocatalysts.
See you, sea stars
The sea star: A side-by-side comparison of two photographs taken near Croker Island in British Columbia. At left, thousands of sunflower sea stars swarm Croker Rock on Oct. 9, 2013. At right, the same site, three weeks later, with the sea stars vanished. | Photo Credit: UC Davis
Published in Science Advances
After affecting corals and crustaceans, warming oceans have now led to a massive decline in sea star population. Researchers have pointed out that infectious viral disease and increasing sea surface temperatures are the
main reasons. Divers noted that between 2013 and 2017, the population collapsed and they were unable to find the sea stars in areas where they once reported an abundance of the species.
These inspiring and stylish Marvel planners and journals will help you stay inspired and work towards your goals and resolutions for 2019.
While it might be almost February, it’s still a good time to make resolutions and goals for the years. It’s also a perfect opportunity to evaluate the resolutions you made a month ago and see what you need to do to continue on with your plans for a successful 2019. One way to make keeping resolutions more exciting is to get organized and buy a journal and planner that will inspire you.
Simple things like having a notebook you love can help you keep track of your goals more efficiently. We’ve collected 10 Marvel-themed planners and journals that any MCU fan will love. You’ll be inspired by your favorite heroes to keep working hard when you use them!
Marvel: Spider-Man Hardcover Ruled Journal
We all know that “with great power, comes great responsibility,” and this planner will remind you of your own strength and power each day. You’re going to love being able to schedule out your days and be reminded of how Peter Parker was just a normal guy in Queens who became a hero. Maybe you can do your part to make your own hometown better, too!
Marvel Logo Journal
Sometimes the best way to get inspired to do great things is to be reminded of all of your favorite heroes. This journal is bold in black and red colors and features images of many Marvel characters. You’ll be able to write out your goals, thoughts, or whatever else you need to stay organized in this journal.
Marvel Studios 10th Anniversary Journal
It’s hard to believe that the MCU has been around for 10 years. This journal will remind you of how much good can come over time if you work hard and plan ahead. You’ll be reminded to think of your long-term goals when you use this journal to work on your resolutions. You can also use this sleek Iron Man pen when you do so to be further reminded of how one moment can bring to pass something extraordinary.
Moleskine Captain America Notebook
Captain America is a very inspiring and dedicated man. When you use this sturdy notebook, you’ll be reminded to work hard and try your best. You don’t want to let Cap down after all! This Moleskine notebook is the perfect place to keep track of fitness goals or career plans and be inspired by a picture of Captain America each time you do so.
Captain Marvel School Planner
Journals and notebooks can be perfect for a variety of purposes, but sometimes it’s best to have a more structured planner to help you design your days. This Captain Marvel school planner is marketed for kids, but it’s perfect for fans of any age. You’ll be inspired to go “higher, further, faster” when you use this planner to organize your life. Plus, you’ll love that it comes with stickers!
Groot Premium Journal
This Groot journal is adorable and sweet, and you’ll smile each time that you look at it. You can use this journal to write down any thoughts that inspire you or anything that makes you feel creative. You can also use it to doodle or work on art. Space is really the limit here! You are Groot!
Avengers: Infinity War Logo Journal
While Infinity War might have been rather traumatic, this journal with the Avengers logo is sleek and simple. You’ll be reminded of how powerful you can be if you team up with others around you to work towards a good end.
Black Panther School Planner
Black Panther is a film full of many inspiring people. T’Challa is a wise, gentle king, and his sister Shuri is a genius. You’ll be motivated to follow your dreams when you use this fun, colorful planner to work on your resolutions. You’re going to love using this planner to organize your life!
Grid Superheroes Hard Cover Journal
This notebook features images of the Avengers in their original comic book forms. The cover is colorful and attention-grabbing. If you leave it next to your bed, it will be easy to jot down your goals for the day. You’ll be cheered on by the images of your favorite superheroes fighting crime.
Deadpool is a rather unconventional hero, so this notebook will remind you that you can do great things even if you’re a little different than the norm. This journal is ideal for writing down hilarious thoughts alongside your daily tasks and goals. Deadpool would be proud of you!
Only a small proportion of open-access scientific journals fully meet the draft requirements of Plan S, the initiative primarily by European funders to make all papers developed with their support free to read, a study has found. Compliance with the rules could cost the remaining journals, especially smaller ones, more than they can afford.
Plan S, which takes effect next year, stipulates that any published research funded by its members must appear on open-access platforms that meet certain requirements. At most, only 889, or 15%, of 5987 science and medical journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) would fully comply with Plan S, according to data gathered by Jan Erik Frantsvåg of the University of Tromsø–the Arctic University of Norway and Tormod Strømme of the University of Bergen in Norway. They published their findings on the Preprints platform on 16 January. Even fewer journals in the social sciences and humanities complied fully: only 193, or 3%, of 6290 such publications.
Frantsvåg and Strømme identified 14 criteria in the Plan S draft rules that journals must meet if participating funders are to permit publication in them. Some rules concern editorial policy, such as that journals must allow authors to retain copyright. Others deal with technical matters—journals must provide full text in machine-readable formats, such as XML, to allow for text and data mining. Of the 14 criteria, Frantsvåg and Strømme could assess only nine criteria using available DOAJ data, which means even fewer than 15% of science and biomedical journals might fully comply with Plan S.
Frantsvåg and Strømme add that a lack of compliance doesn’t necessarily signal a lack of quality. Only one of the nine criteria they reviewed relates to quality: the requirement for some form of peer review. Almost all journals registered in the DOAJ meet this criterion, they report. The DOAJ is a large compendium of open-access journals that meet certain standards of quality control.
The required technical fixes may be too expensive for some smaller open-access journals unless Plan S provides them deadline extensions, exempts them, or helps them develop open-source publishing software that meets the requirements, the study says. That’s especially true for the many open-access journals that don’t charge author fees. Larger publishers will probably find it easier to meet Plan S’s requirements, Frantsvåg and Strømme say. Their journals are closer to full compliance with Plan S than other journals are, thanks to economies of scale and higher revenues.
Frantsvåg and Strømme say they aren’t arguing against Plan S. “But we want to warn that the current timeline will pose a threat to a number of open access journals of good scholarly quality that scholars do not want to lose,” they write. Much of the public debate about Plan S’s consequences has focused on limiting researchers’ ability to publish in traditional, prestigious, subscription-based journals, they note, rather than the plan’s effects on open-access journals.
Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s open-access envoy in Brussels, who is one of the architects of Plan S, wrote in an email to ScienceInsider that existing open-access journals demonstrate that viable, high-quality alternatives to subscription-based journals already exist.
Compliance with Plan S “is a responsibility of the journals, platforms, and repositories themselves,” he wrote. “Our revised implementation guidance, which will be presented in the spring following public consultation, will show that the road to full compliance with Plan S is quite feasible.” (The public comment period ends 8 February.)
The Plan S funders are already providing support to help publishers make the transition, Smits said. The Wellcome Trust hired a contractor this month to help scientific societies that publish both open-access and subscription-based journals develop business models under which they could make all their journals open access.
“For some, [compliance] will not require that much, for others, a bit more will have to be done, as is also mentioned in the study,” Smits wrote. “I am convinced that an increasing number of [open-access] publishers are willing to go that extra mile because they certainly will want to include in their journals the high volume of high-quality research output coming in the future from Plan S grantholders.”
An existential threat. That’s what scientific societies supported by journal subscriptions call Plan S. Introduced in September 2018 by European research funders and endorsed by others since then, the plan will require that grantees’ papers be immediately available free of charge. All publishers that charge subscriptions will be affected, but scientific societies fear they could be hit especially hard. One, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) in Rockville, Maryland, predicts worldwide adoption of Plan S could cut its net revenue from publishing by a third. Less drastic impacts on societies’ bottom lines might still force them to sell their journals to commercial publishers and cut back on activities supported by publishing, such as professional training and public outreach.
“We’re not seeing a sustainable, viable, nonprofit open-access model” if all funders back Plan S, says Tracey DePellegrin, executive director of GSA, which publishes two journals.
After accepting comments through 8 February, the plan’s architects expect to firm up details this spring. But the bottom line is clear: By 2024, Plan S funders will allow grantees to publish papers only on platforms that offer immediate open access and cap the fee that open-access publishers can charge a paper’s authors. Many journals now follow a hybrid model, publishing individual papers open access for a fee but deriving most of their income from subscriptions.
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Scientific publishing needs “a radical program” to promote full and immediate open access because progress has been too slow, argues Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s open-access envoy in Brussels, who is one of the architects of Plan S. The open-access movement began about 15 years ago, but by 2016, only about 20% of newly published research articles were open access.
Plan S’s requirements will disproportionately hurt the selective journals that many societies publish, says Fred Dylla, former executive director of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) in College Park, Maryland, who still advises AIP about its journals. Such journals typically have high costs per article, reflecting expenses for reviewing papers that are rejected; publishers worry Plan S’s fee cap, which has yet to be set, will be too low to cover the average cost per paper. What’s more, the societies typically have lower profit margins and a smaller economy of scale than do the commercial publishers that publish the majority of all journal articles. The largest, Elsevier, based in Amsterdam, publishes more than 2500 journal titles; scientific societies each publish at most a few dozen. (Science is published by a nonprofit scientific society, AAAS in Washington, D.C.; Science‘s news section is editorially independent of the journal and AAAS.)
Comprehensive data aren’t available, but a 2017 study by Universities UK, an advocacy group in London, estimated that for life science societies, publishing income funded about 40% of spending on other activities, whereas for physical science societies, the figure was closer to 20%. GSA’s two journals provide about 65% of the society’s total net revenues, financing other GSA programs that don’t make money. These include efforts to advocate for science funding and help early-career scientists, activities that could help researchers outside of the society’s members.
So far, 16 funders, most of them in Europe, have embraced Plan S, not enough to transform journal finances. U.S. government funders remain cool to the approach. But Plan S’s international momentum grew—along with the threat it poses to traditional publishing—in December 2018, when officials in China backed its open-access goals. If China follows through, Plan S could reduce publishers’ income by perhaps 15% under certain conditions, according to an estimate published last week by Delta Think, a consulting firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That analysis doesn’t include the effect of the cap on author fees (also called article-processing charges), which could cut revenues further. The average fee for papers published in purely open-access journals in 2018 was about $1600, Delta Think has estimated.
GSA produces such a journal, G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, and is “actively preparing for an eventual open-access publishing landscape” for all articles, DePellegrin says. GSA’s other journal, Genetics, is hybrid. The society has already reduced costs. The revenue loss from global adoption of Plan S would force GSA to cut its services or sell the journals to a commercial publisher, she says. “The trade-offs are hard,” adds Mark Johnston, editor-in-chief of Genetics and a molecular geneticist at the University of Colorado in Denver.
One way society publishers could adapt to Plan S’s requirements: Publish more papers to bring in more author fees. But that strategy may not succeed. The PLOS family of open-access journals, which published nearly 25,000 papers in 2017, reported a $1.7 million operating loss that year. Another prominent open-access journal, eLife, was also in the red in 2017 despite its author fee of $2500 and subsidies from foundations including the Wellcome Trust, a medical charity in London.
Besides, increasing the volume of papers inevitably decreases selectivity and lowers quality, some publishers say. “We and other societies are worried about where [Plan S] puts incentives,” said Brooks Hanson, an executive vice president who oversees publishing at the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C., which produces 20 journals, five of them purely open access. “It actually incentivizes publishers to go after more and more papers.”
Science‘s publisher, Bill Moran, says the journal doesn’t want to pursue what he calls “a volume play.” He wants Plan S to carve out an exemption for Science and similar selective journals that reflects their unusual circumstances and roles in scholarly communications. Science accepts only about 7% of manuscripts submitted and publishes, in addition, a variety of news, perspectives, and other nonresearch articles. The journal wouldn’t be sustainable if author fees had to cover all publication costs, Moran says.
“Science is unique,” Moran says. “Not all journals are the same. If your goal is to maintain quality, there has to be an exception” to a one-size-fits-all approach like Plan S.
Still, if more funders demanded solely open-access publication, Science might have to make adjustments, he adds. An option might be to charge subscription fees only for nonresearch content, he says.
Smits places the onus on journals and societies to create new business models to adjust to Plan S’s requirements. But the Plan S funders also want to cooperate with societies to move away from subscriptions while maintaining quality. “We are very much interested in having an [author fee] that is fair enough to allow many organizations to flip their journals” to open access, he says.
The Wellcome Trust, one of the Plan S funders, and other groups have said they will publish a report by July on strategies and business models through which scholarly societies in the United Kingdom could make that transition. In addition, Smits met this month with representatives of the Royal Society, based in London, and 10 other midsize scientific societies to discuss how Plan S funders could help them switch. He says the societies are “keen to make the transition. They identified, however, a number of challenges.”
Excess belly fat can probably shrink the grey matter volume in your brain, a new study finds.
Grey matter contains most of the brain’s 100 billion nerve cells, while the white matter is filled with nerve fibres that connect the brain regions.
A study of 9,652 middle-aged people, conducted at the Loughborough University, measured body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio. It was found that nearly one in five of the participants were found to be obese.
The findings of the study appeared in the Journal of Neurology.
Researchers also used an MRI to scan participants’ brain volume. The researchers factored in age, physical activity, smoking and high blood pressure, all of which might lead to reduced volume.
The study found that 1,291 people who had a BMI of 30 or higher and a high waist-to-hip ratio had the lowest average grey matter volume, at 786 cubic centimetres; 514 people with a BMI of 30 or higher but without central obesity had an average grey matter volume of 793 cubic centimetres. Meanwhile, 3,025 people with overall health scores had an average grey matter volume of 798 cubic centimetres.
The study also showed no real differences in white matter brain volume linked to obesity. However, excess weight was associated with shrinkage in specific regions of the brain: the pallidum, nucleus accumbens, putamen (linked only to a higher BMI) and caudate (linked only to a higher waist-to-hip ratio). All of these brain regions are involved in motivation and reward.
Older people who get less deep sleep have higher levels of the brain protein tau, a sign of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study.
Slow-wave sleep is the deep sleep people need to consolidate memories and wake up feeling refreshed, said researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in the US.
The findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggest that poor-quality sleep in later life could be a red flag for deteriorating brain health.
“What’s interesting is that we saw this inverse relationship between decreased slow-wave sleep and more tau protein in people who were either cognitively normal or very mildly impaired, meaning that reduced slow-wave activity may be a marker for the transition between normal and impaired,” said Brendan Lucey, an assistant professor at the Washington University.
“Measuring how people sleep may be a non-invasive way to screen for Alzheimer’s disease before or just as people begin to develop problems with memory and thinking,” Lucey said.
The brain changes that lead to Alzheimer’s, a disease that affects an estimated 5.7 million Americans, start slowly and silently.
Up to two decades before the characteristic symptoms of memory loss and confusion appear, amyloid beta protein begins to collect into plaques in the brain.
Tangles of tau appear later, followed by atrophy of key brain areas. Only then do people start showing unmistakable signs of cognitive decline.
The challenge is finding people on track to develop Alzheimer’s before such brain changes undermine their ability to think clearly. For that, sleep may be a handy marker.
To better understand the link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease, Lucey, along with David Holtzman, a professor at Washington University, and colleagues studied 119 people 60 years of age or older.
Most — 80 per cent — were cognitively normal, and the remaining were very mildly impaired.
The researchers monitored the participants’ sleep at home over the course of a normal week.
Participants were given a portable EEG monitor that strapped to their foreheads to measure their brain waves as they slept, as well as a wristwatch-like sensor that tracks body movement.
They also kept sleep logs, where they made note of both nighttime sleep sessions and daytime napping. Each participant produced at least two nights of data; some had as many as six.
The researchers also measured levels of amyloid beta and tau in the brain and in the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.
Thirty-eight people underwent PET brain scans for the two proteins, and 104 people underwent spinal taps to provide cerebrospinal fluid for analysis. Twenty-seven did both.
After controlling for factors such as sex, age and movements while sleeping, the researchers found that decreased slow-wave sleep coincided with higher levels of tau in the brain and a higher tau-to-amyloid ratio in the cerebrospinal fluid.
“The key is that it wasn’t the total amount of sleep that was linked to tau, it was the slow-wave sleep, which reflects quality of sleep,” Lucey said.
“The people with increased tau pathology were actually sleeping more at night and napping more in the day, but they weren’t getting as good quality sleep,” he said.
When experiencing pain again, men seemed to be stressed and hypersensitive in remembering, but women were not stressed by their earlier experiences of pain. (Unsplash)
Women tend to forget pain that they suffered more quickly than men, confirmed a new study in mice and humans, challenging the widely held belief that the fairer sex are more sensitive to pain than men. The study, by researchers from Canada’s University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), showed that men and women remembered earlier painful experiences differently.
When experiencing pain again, men seemed to be stressed and hypersensitive in remembering, but women were not stressed by their earlier experiences of pain.
“If remembered pain is a driving force for chronic pain and we understand how pain is remembered, we may be able to help some sufferers by treating the mechanisms behind the memories directly,” said lead author Loren Martin, Assistant Professor at the UTM.
“What was even more surprising was that men reacted more, because it is well known that women are both more sensitive to pain than men, and that they are also generally more stressed out,” Martin added.
For the study, published in the Current Biology journal, the team conducted experiments on both humans and mice where they were taken to specific rooms and made to experience low levels of pain caused by heat delivered to their hind paw or forearm.
Further, human participants were asked to wear a tightly inflated blood pressure cuff and exercise their arms for 20 minutes, while each mouse received a diluted injection of vinegar designed to cause a stomach ache for about 30 minutes. When the next day the participants returned to either the same or a different room and heat was again applied to their arms or hind paws, men rated the heat pain higher than they did the day before, and higher than the women did.
Similarly, male mice returning to the same environment exhibited a heightened heat pain response, while mice placed in a new and neutral environment did not.
The University Grants Commission’s (UGC) National Cell for Journal Analysis to weed out dubious journals was inaugurated by UGC’s vice-chairman Professor Bhushan Patwardhan on Saturday.
Located in the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) campus, the cell will be headed by Shubhada Nagarkar, assistant professor, department of library and information science, SPPU.
In May, the UGC had disqualified 4,305 journals out of 32,659 from its list of approved journals owing to their dubious nature.
This action followed a study published in the March 25 issue of Current Science journal which had reported a spurt in the number of predatory and dubious journals offering ‘pay and publish’ services to gullible authors.
Patwardhan said that the incidence of research articles published in poor quality journals is very high in India, which has adversely affected the academic reputation of the country. “The UGC national cell in the SPPU will analyse all such journals and then the UGC will give final approval,” he said.
The UGC national cell will have representations from four zones with the north zone represented by the Jawaharlal Nehru University, south zone (Hyderabad University), west zone (Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda) and Tezpur University in the east zone.
In November, the UGC had formed a consortium of academic bodies to prepare and maintain a list of credible journals.
This consortium which is a body of over 20 council members such as Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), will recommend the list of journals to the monitoring committee of the UGC cell for further action.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union has accused the varsity of dropping the subscription of important journals over paucity of funds. Making the announcement at a press conference, the students body shared documents of the Library Advisory Committee meeting held last month.
Prior to holding the presser, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) said it had got a letter from the administration advising them not to hold the press conference outside the library since such activities within 100 metres of the administration block have been prohibited by the Delhi High Court.
The JNUSU, however, said the press conference was held 800 metres away from the administration block. It alleged that seven subscriptions were dropped by the varsity.
These include EBSCO -International Security and Counterterrorism, Wiley Subject Collection Journal, Nature Journals, Sage Journals, Cambridge Journal, Cell Press Journal and Science Direct, the JNUSU said.
It accused the varsity administration of cutting down library funds from Rs 8 crore to Rs 1.7 crore.
The university, however, rubbished the claims. It said it had been allocating to the library every year an amount of Rs 1.70 crore for books and journals from its grant received annually from the University Grants Commission (UGC).
“However, in the year 2012, the UGC gave one time bulk grant to JNU under the 12th Plan for five years from which an extra amount was allocated for the next five years. Now that the 12th plan has ended the library is running with its regular annual grant,” the varsity had said earlier.
“At the moment, some of the journals that were freely available through INFLIBNET and paid by the UGC are under review and the situation is expected to be sorted out soon,” a varsity official said.
The JNU students union, however, expressed fear that the journals might not be renewed next year.