Archive by category | Noah Gray

Getting into and out of character

A great discussion over at Nature Network inspired me to initiate a similar conversation here at Action Potential. Corie Lok asked the question “What is fair play in the blogo/commentosphere?” A fair question indeed. The responses have produced some interesting discussion fodder, but got me thinking about my own experiences on several science blogs. Although this conversation is equally applicable to any type of blog, let’s stick with those dedicated to or mainly engaged in conversations about science.  Read more

The science of dignity

A recent Nature news article regarding the latest battle on the animal research front takes us to Switzerland. There, the University of Zurich and another research institute are taking a case to the Swiss Supreme Court arguing against the rulings of a lower court, which banned two primate-based experiments that had been approved by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The proposed experiments were said to potentially offend the dignity of the animals, according to an external advisory board, overruling a decision by the veterinary office (responsible for animal welfare) who allowed the experiments to proceed.  Read more

Turning web traffic into citations

Turning web traffic into citations

Our June editorial discusses the relationship between web traffic and citations. Specifically, can one predict how well any particular paper is cited years after publication, based solely on the number of downloads it receives immediately following its appearance online? Our preliminary analysis suggests that this relationship not only exists, but is surprisingly strong.  Read more

Nature Network Journal Club: Curbing cocaine addiction using gene therapy

The next installment of the Nature Network Neuroscience group journal club is now live. The paper discusses a potential therapeutic strategy involving the upregulation of the dopamine receptor D2R that may be beneficial in the treatment of cocaine abuse and addiction.  Read more

Nature Neuroscience turns 10!

Our May editorial takes a brief look back at some of the history of Nature Neuroscience. We also present some of the most-cited papers over the past decade. This is an interesting exercise, as it provides an opportunity to reflect on the interests of both the authors and readers over the past decade.  Read more

Nature Network Journal Club: Giving sounds the silent treatment

The next installment of the Nature Network Neuroscience group journal club is now live. The paper provides evidence that in unanesthetized animals, sounds are sparsely represented in the auditory cortex.  Read more

Big Pharma and academia becoming more and more cozy

I recently attended the Alzheimer’s Disease Keystone meeting in Keystone, CO and became more acutely aware of something than ever before: academia and drug companies really like one another. Sure, the latter always loved the former, since collaborating with university-based scientists often made the publications arising from the private sector look a little more legit. On the contrary, the reciprocity in this relationship has not always been there. There is without a doubt some sub-disciplinary differences in this complex relationship, but in the basic science departments that I lurked around, if you were associated with a company (or worse, left academia for a position there, succumbing to the power of the Dark Side), there was always talk of whether or not you could be trusted.  Read more

Nature Network Journal Club: Neuronal dynamics mediate efficient coding

The next installment of the Nature Network Neuroscience group journal club is now live. The paper discusses the role for brief adaptation in the improvement of population-based encoding accuracy during sensory information processing.  Read more

What to do with your unfunded proposals – place them in a centralized repository?

I would say no. Grant proposals are a precious commodity, especially in this day and age of reduced funding and evaporating money. However, in a recent Nature correspondence, Dr. Noam Harel describes his vision for a centralized grant repository, ideally open to the public, where researchers could place their best ideas, allowing various funding agencies to discover the plans most-suited to their respective agendas. Dr. Harel likens this potential web manifestation to something like eBay, Facebook or Google, but for scientists and funding agencies. A more apt analogy might be Monster.com, with both sides searching for their ideal match, and a long-term relationship (perhaps I am now making it sound more like eHarmony.com…).  Read more