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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

Author's Corner: Revisiting the personalities of wild chimpanzees

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

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

Author’s Corner: Mapping Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Author's Corner: Mapping Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is one of the most widely distributed tick-borne diseases in the world, ranging from southern Russia and the Black Sea region to the southern tip of Africa. It is caused by a virus which is transmitted to humans by ticks, and is considered as “emerging” across the globe, with countries such as Albania, Turkey, and Georgia reporting new infections in humans in recent decades. Human CCHF infection has also been recently reported after long periods of absence in some locations, for example in south-western Russia and Central Africa. The main genus of ticks that transmit CCHF to humans (Hyalomma ticks) are adapted to warmer and dry or semiarid environments, and are found in many parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe. In addition to humans these ticks feed on wild and domesticated animals, which can also become infected with CCHF virus but which do not show any disease symptoms. However, infection of these animals leads to further CCHF transmission to humans, as new ticks feed upon these animals and become infected.  Read more

Author’s Corner: Are lakes warming?

Author's Corner: Are lakes warming?

It is now widely recognized that global and regional climate change has important implications for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Recently published studies, for example, have revealed significant warming of lakes and reservoirs throughout the world. This has been evident not only in studies of individual lakes at specific sites (i.e., from “in situ” datasets), but especially in broader, satellite-based studies of lake surface temperature trends. Remarkably, these previous studies have also found that the observed rate of lake warming is sometimes greater than that of ambient air temperature. These rapid, unprecedented changes in lake temperature have profound implications for lake mixing, hydrology, productivity, and biotic communities.  Read more

Author’s Corner: Digitizing odor

Author’s Corner: Digitizing odor

Why is it that we all know that red, green, and blue are primary colors, but nobody knows a set of primary odors? Why is it that every smartphone user can now pull out their phone, take a picture, send it to a friend halfway across the world nearly instantaneously, archive it nearly indefinitely, and look at it repeatedly with no degradation using only a device connected to a power source, but none of this is currently possible in olfaction? One reason is that color vision uses three types of receptors to detect all of the colors we see. Taste comes in an order of magnitude higher – with somewhere around 40 receptors.  Read more