Archive by category | Communication

Content rules, but commenting can add value

Content rules, but commenting can add value

Content rules, writes Nature in an Editorial in the current issue (464, 466; 2010), in which Nature ’s new online commenting facility opens up the entire magazine for discussion. The Editorial is reproduced here: ‘Conversation is king’, according to a mantra frequently repeated by enthusiasts of online social media. But we editors and writers tend to give our first allegiance to content — not least because of our labours to research, commission, select, create and otherwise add value to content, and to do so in a way that informs and stimulates our readers: the people who pay for it. But,  … Read more

Science books to inspire new generations

Science books to inspire new generations

Five leading writers of science books are offering advice for budding authors in a series of interviews running from 4 Feb to 4 March in Nature‘s Books & Arts section. Researchers should be recognized for writing books to convey and develop science, according to an Editorial in Nature last week ( 463, 588; 4 February 2010, free to read online). Here is an extract: “As the era of the electronic book dawns, perhaps hastened by Apple’s much-touted iPad, researchers should prime themselves to take advantage of the spacious book format. Unlike a tweet, blog or research paper, a good book  … Read more

Dimensions of scientific diplomacy

Dimensions of scientific diplomacy

As scientists working in a range of disciplines come under fire in some sections of the media, Nature Physics in its February Editorial (6, 75; 2010) explains why science diplomacy matters. The Inter-Academy Panel (IAP) counts 103 of the world’s scientific academies as members, most recently the Academies of Science of Afghanistan, Mozambique and Nicaragua, and assembles once every three or four years to discuss issues, like climate change, biodiversity or nuclear proliferation, of global significance that hinge crucially on scientific knowledge, and the gaps in that scientific knowledge. The Nature Physics editorial continues: “The IAP initiative is typical of  … Read more

Are smartphones making inroads into the laboratory?

Are smartphones making inroads into the laboratory?

Mobile computing platforms such as the iPhone are beginning to make inroads into the laboratory—serious prospect or fairy tale? So asks Nature Methods (7, 87; 2010), starting its February Editorial in traditional genre style: “Once upon a time phones were used exclusively for conversing with other people, and computers ran software applications. The computer became an indispensable tool in the laboratory while the phone developed into a mobile device that has disrupted countless lectures at scientific conferences. But recently researchers can be seen talking on their computer and using their cell phone for running fancy—and sometimes powerful—software programs. This metamorphosis  … Read more

British scientists need to adopt a positive tone

British scientists need to adopt a positive tone

This is a shortened version of an Editorial in Nature ( 463, 402; 28 January 2010), which is free to access online. On 11 January, a coalition of 20 leading British research universities published an editorial in The Guardian newspaper warning of impending calamity. If the spending cuts being proposed by the government are implemented, the authors asserted, the nation’s entire higher-education system, eight centuries in the making, could be undone in just six months. Such alarmist statements have worked before. In an ordinary budget year, cries of falling skies and loss of leadership can pressure politicians to shift resources  … Read more

Nature Materials looks to second worlds

Nature Materials looks to second worlds

Virtual worlds such as Second Life present an intriguing premise for scientific use. But are the benefits sufficiently clear for widespread uptake? In a Commentary in the current (December) issue of Nature Materials ( 8, 919-921; 2009), Tim Jones discusses the advantages virtual worlds allow in the context of science and science communication, including allowing research collaborators to meet in a virtual space, or larger events such as talks where the audience can interact with each other. An Editorial in the same issue of Nature Materials (8, 917; 2009, free to access online) points out that despite its advantages, growth  … Read more

Web-based scholarly communication in chemistry

Web-based scholarly communication in chemistry

New web-based models of scholarly communication have made a significant impact in some scientific disciplines, but chemistry is not one of them. What has prevented the widespread adoption of these developments by chemists — and what are the prospects for adoption over time? These controversial questions are addressed by Theresa Velden and Carl Lagoze of Cornell University in a Commentary in the December issue of Nature Chemistry (1, 673-678; 2009). The authors write: “The success of these new web-based and social-network models in disciplines neighbouring to and at the periphery of chemistry (such as drug design) stands in contrast to  … Read more

Nature Immunology on a common language of science

Nature Immunology on a common language of science

Science and technology can be used to build relations between countries. Thus, scientific diplomacy is becoming increasingly important, and is the subject of Nature Immunology’s December Editorial (10, 1223; 2009). The use of science diplomacy has taken a back seat in the many years since President Nixon signed the Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement between China and the United States. But the Nature Immunology Editorial argues that current world events have thrust the use of this diplomatic card back into the limelight. “A 2004 Pew Survey of many Muslim states confirmed that the most countries had negative views of America.  Read more

Nature Medicine’s wake-up call on intellectual property rights

Intellectual-property protection is a key driver of innovation, and researchers are always keen to file patents to shield their discoveries. Yet scientists often have an uninformed view of the value of their intellectual property. This naiveté slows down translational research. So concludes the November Editorial in Nature Medicine (15, 1229; 2009).  Read more