Too much focus on generating new ideas in science is driving the replication crisis.
An overemphasis on novelty has meant that funders and journal editors are neglecting the equally important work of revisiting old problems, says molecular biologist, Barak Cohen, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “If we always have to be finding something new to get funding or credit, it’s harder to pursue something in depth.”
Cohen set out his case in an opinion article in the journal eLife this year, calling for a renewed emphasis on research that validates existing ideas, deepens understanding, and improves predictive power. Read more in Nature Index.
Researchers, university administrators, students and others across Canada rally in an unprecedented effort to ensure the government doesn’t ignore the report’s recommendations.
Canada’s academic community has launched a full court press to encourage the government to adopt the recommendations of the report of Canada’s Fundamental Science Review panel, also known as the Naylor report.
The report, requested by Science Minister Kirsty Duncan in June 2016, was drawn up by a panel led by former University of Toronto president David Naylor and released this past April. It found that Canada has been falling behind its international peers in science in recent years, and recommended a major increase in funding for basic, investigator-led research. The panel’s recommendations, if fully implemented, would see annual federal spending on research-related activities increase from approximately $3.5 billion to $4.8 billion over four years. Read more in University Affairs.
To reinvigorate its science base, Canada needs to “reinvest” almost CAD$500 million in basic, investigator-led research over the next 4 years, according to a long-awaited review of the country’s science and innovation landscape released today.
“A crucial shortcoming in the system is the level of support for independent investigator-initiated research,” David Naylor, a former president of the University of Toronto in Canada who led the nine-person review panel, told ScienceInsider. “That support has been squeezed for about a decade.” Read more in Science.
CFI aims to secure ongoing operation and maintenance funds for research facilities including Canada’s only research icebreaker.
Laval University has received more than $18 million for the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen in the latest round of funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Science Initiatives Fund.
Over the next five years, the funding will mainly be used to maintain and deploy the coast guard ship’s scientific equipment and to pay the specialised engineers who operate the Arctic research vessel, says Louis Fortier, the Amundsen’s scientific director. But the money will also be used to subsidize some scientific projects that need a little extra cash. Read more in University Affairs.
Growing participation in large international research projects may explain the drop in Canada’s index performance.
Researchers at Canadian institutions are publishing more papers in top journals, but make up a smaller part of the collaborative teams that publish them, according to the latest data from Nature Index.
Between 2012 and 2015, the number of publications in the 68 high-profile journals tracked by the index that featured Canadian institutions rose from 3,211 to 3,319. But the total weighted fractional count (WFC) of the country’s institutions — a metric that measures the proportional contribution to each publication — fell by 2.8%, from 1521.05 to 1478.29. Read more in Nature Index.
An overview of biomedical research in the USA—the major funders, trends, and strengths and weaknesses facing the world’s major scientific superpower.
The biomedical research landscape in the USA is so vast and comprehensive that it can be difficult to get a handle on specifics. But within the expanse of the biomedical specialty, there are a few unique aspects that stand out.
America is a leader in funding for biomedical research, from government, industry, and the non-profit sector. And, for such a large country, the research community is remarkably spread out, with high-quality work being done in every region of the nation. But the dominance of the USA is slowly being challenged by the rise in both volume and quality of research done in other countries, though it will be some time yet before any challenger will be able to seize the top spot. Read more in The Lancet.