Few open-access journals meet requirements of Plan S, study says

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.”

 

[“source=sciencemag”]

Excess belly fat may shrink your brain: Study

Belly fat,fat,smaller brain

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.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Decreased deep sleep may signal Alzheimer’s disease: Study

Deep sleep,slumber,alzheimer's

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.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Want A Loan To Study Abroad? SBI Offers Global Ed-Vantage Loan. Details Here

Want A Loan To Study Abroad? SBI Offers Global Ed-Vantage Loan. Details Here

SBI’s Global Ed-Vantage loan amount can be repaid up to maximum of 15 years.

State Bank of India (SBI) offers various kinds of education loans. SBI offers an early approval facility for its Global Ed-Vantage scheme. This was said by the country’s largest bank on microblogging website, Twitter. SBI’s Global Ed-Vantage loan is an overseas education loan exclusively for those who wish to pursue full-time regular courses at foreign colleges or universities, according to SBI’s official website – sbi.co.in. Under SBI’s Global Ed-Vantage scheme, one can avail a minimum loan of Rs. 20 lakh and a maximum of Rs. 1.5 crore.
Here are all the details you need to know about SBI’s Global Ed-Vantage loan:

Eligible courses: Candidates pursuing regular graduate, post graduate or doctorate courses in any discipline offered by foreign institutes or universities in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Europe, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Margin: A margin is an amount you need to pay from your own funds, while the rest is paid by the bank.

Scholarship/assistantship to be included in margin.

Margin to be brought in on year-on-year basis as and when disbursements are made on a pro-rata basis.

Processing fee: One has to a processing fee of Rs. 10,000 per application.

Rate of interest: Simple interest rate will be charged during course period plus the moratorium period.

SBI GLOBAL ED-VANTAGE SCHEME
Loan Limit 1 year MCLR Spread Effective Interest Rate Reset Period
Above Rs. 20 lacs & Upto Rs. 1.5 Cr 8.15% 2.50% 10.65% 1 year
Concession 0.50% concession for students availing of SBI Rinn Raksha or any other existing life insurance policy assigned in favour of our Bank
Further Concession 0.50% concession for girl students
                         (Source: sbi.co.in)

Security: One needs to have a tangible collateral security.

Collateral security offered by third party (other than parents) will also be accepted.

Repayment And repayment holiday:

Accrued interest during the moratorium will be added to the principal and repayment in EMI (Equated Monthly Instalment) is fixed.

Repayment will commence 6 months after completion of course.

One can repay the amount up to maximum of 15 years

[“source-ndtv”]