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AstraZeneca neither confirms nor denies that it will ditch antibiotics research

AstraZeneca neither confirms nor denies that it will ditch antibiotics research

The fight against antibiotic-resistant microbes could suffer a major blow if widely circulated rumours are confirmed that pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is due to disband its in-house antibiotic development. The company called the rumours “highly speculative”, while not explicitly denying them.  Read more

The decline and fall of Microsoft Academic Search

The decline and fall of Microsoft Academic Search

Five years after it launched, Microsoft’s free scholarly search engine has fallen into shabby disrepair, failing to track even a fraction of papers published since 2011. But the team behind the product says they are shifting their focus to a yet-to-be-released, next-generation version of the service.  Read more

UK budget sees boosts for data science, graphene and cell therapy

British scientists already know that their public funding for the next two years is frozen at £4.6 billion annually (as it has been since 2010, which, for the nation’s seven research-grants agencies has meant a 10% cut in real terms over the past three years), so they did not expect anything transformative from today’s budget.  Read more

Climate comments push open-access publisher to terminate journal

A German academic publisher that has journals of respected scientific societies among its titles has announced that it shut down its journal Pattern Recognition in Physics, citing what it calls nepotistic reviewing and malpractice. The firm, Copernicus Publishing of Göttingen, Germany, was responding to a recent special issue on ‘solar variability’. “The special issue editors ultimately submitted their conclusions in which they ‘doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project’,” the publisher wrote in its statement.  Read more

India’s heavy-lift rocket passes crucial test

With the successful liftoff of a Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) D 5 yesterday, India became the sixth nation to possess cryogenic propulsion rocket technology. The 415-tonne rocket successfully injected a 2-tonne communications satellite into the intended geosynchronous orbit, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced.  Read more

Patent database of 15 million chemical structures goes public

The internet’s wealth of free chemistry data just got significantly larger. Today, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) has launched a website – – that allows anyone to search through 15 million chemical structures, extracted automatically by data-mining software from world patents.  Read more

Open-access genome project lands in UK

George Church

In 2008, a group of prominent scientists and entrepreneurs announced, after careful consideration, that they would make their genome sequences public, marking the launch of the Personal Genome Project (PGP). The “open source” genomics effort sought to make the genomes and medical histories of 100,000 people available for anyone to use. It was started by George Church, a genomicist at Harvard Medical School in Boston who was among the first 10 participants, or the “PGP-10.”  … Read more

UK backs away from ‘value-based pricing’ for drugs

The UK government appears to have rowed back on plans for a radical new pricing system for medicines that would have used independent assessments of their worth to limit costs. But some elements of the pharmaceutical industry are still warning that a new agreement on how much the country pays for drugs will drive research overseas.  Read more

European Research Council funds arXiv — a taste of changes to come

European Research Council funds arXiv — a taste of changes to come

The European Research Council (ERC) announced today that it has joined the list of more than 170 institutions to financially support arXiv, the major online repository for pre-print papers operated by Cornell University Library in Ithaca, New York.  Read more