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Author’s Corner: Open data, open review and open dialogue in making social sciences plausible

Author’s Corner: Open data, open review and open dialogue in making social sciences plausible

A growing awareness of the lack of reproducibility has undermined society’s trust and esteem in social sciences. In some cases, well-known results have been fabricated or the underlying data have turned out to have weak technical foundations.  Read more

Author’s Corner: Revisiting the personalities of wild chimpanzees

Chimpanzee in a patch of sunlight in 2010

Early on in her behavioural observations of the chimpanzees at what is now known as Gombe National Park, Jane Goodall was struck by their personalities, which were as distinct as our own1. However, upon sharing her observations with a ‘respected ethologist’, she was told that, yes, animals differed in their behaviour, but that this was best ‘swept under the carpet’ (pp 11-12)2.  Read more

Author’s corner: Providing incentives and ensuring quality in citizen science

Author's corner: Providing incentives and ensuring quality in citizen science

Citizen science, the collection or analysis of research data by the general public, has existed in one form or another for centuries, with contributions ranging from plant and animal observations to weather phenonmena1. In the field of land cover and land use, however, its application is relatively new2. Previously this was a task left largely to governments, research institutes and global bodies. With the recent availability of high resolution satellite imagery, this has changed, opening up new possibilities for citizen participation3. In our recent article in Nature Research’s Scientific Data4, we have made available a global dataset of crowdsourced land cover and land use reference data, containing the results of our first four citizen-science campaigns.  Read more

An open approach to Huntington’s disease research

SONY DSC

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by a mutation in the huntingtin gene1. The progressive break down of brain neuronal cells in HD patients leads to deteriorating mental and physical abilities over a 10-20 year period prior to death, the symptoms often described as having Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) simultaneously2. At the start of the huntingtin gene there is a CAG trinucleotide repeat region that encodes a stretch of poly-glutamine residues in the amino-terminus of the encoded protein. This repeat tract is expanded in HD patients. The repeat length of this region correlates with the age of symptom onset3. Affecting approximately 1 in 10,000 of the population4, rare juvenile forms of the disease exist in patients with the longest CAG expansions, although adult-onset HD patients typically have between 40-50 CAG repeats with symptom onset beginning between the ages of 35-50.  Read more

Author’s corner: A testbed for reproducible and standardized human MRI connectomics

Author’s corner: A testbed for reproducible and standardized human MRI connectomics

Guest post by Xi-Nian Zuo, Project Coordinator and Co-Founder of Consortium for Reliability and Reproducibility (CoRR), Professor of Psychology and Director of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Center in the Institute of Psychology at Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.  Read more