Essays, news, and open questions

Jul 162015
 
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ResearchGate was founded in 2008 to support scientific collaboration and grew rapidly. Today it has more than 7 million members according to its website. The platform offers ways to share published and unpublished data, participate in open-review, and ask and answer questions.
To put ResearchGate simply as a social networking site, for researchers and others involved in the pursuit of independent research, would be an understatement. Not only has it enabled researchers connect across economic and cultural barriers and work towards a collaborative and global realm of sharing knowledge from Stockholm to Santiago and from Hokkaido to Hawaii but also enabled the labs in developing nations to get access to surplus equipment which would otherwise be an impediment to cutting-edge research for so many talented individuals.
We talked to Dr. Ijad Madisch, co-founder of ResearchGate and asked him about his motivations, the challenges he had to face and prominent examples of how ResearchGate influenced the scientific landscape.

Read the interview: Changing the Way Researchers Communicate

Jul 162015
 
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Peter R. Wich is an Assistant Professor (Juniorprofessor, W1) of Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Mainz (Germany) – Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry. His primary research interests are in the fields of bioorganic chemistry and the interface between nanotechnology and biomolecular materials (for more information: www.wichlab.com). His internet presence is always up to date, he is informing his followers about the latest ongoings in his lab and we were interested in his motivations in doing so, as well as his experiences in the field of communicating science.

Read the Interview here: Communicating Science in the Digital Age

Jul 162015
 
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Science for the Masses was a biotech grinding think-tank, aimed towards altering the human condition in the pursuit of new abilities and leveraging pre-existing technologies for accessibility. Prior projects include mammalian near infra-red vision, next generation functional implant coating technologies and techniques, as well as bacterial modifications for the human and environmental microbiome. Both Jeffrey and Gabriel continue to biohack independently since its dissolution in 2015.

Read the Interview: Science for the Masses

Jul 162015
 
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Georg Graffe is commissioning editor and head of department of the TV program TerraX for the TV broadcaster ZDF. JUnQ interviewed him to get insights in the process of communicating scientific information to a broader public via a TV program.

Find the Interview here: Communicating Science via Television Programmes

Jul 142015
 
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W. Seuntjens

Dutch Academy of ‘Pataphysics, Amsterdam

Received 21.05.2015, accepted 30.06.2015, published 14.07.2015

JUnQ, 5, 2, Views, 17-21, 2015

Collections of quotations are popular because they serve wisdom and wit in condensed form. Sometimes, though, their selected quotations are not quite understandable. Especially quotations from some German authors in a particular German collection seem to suffer from this false air of deep thinking and great intelligence. Is this an incidental one-off or is this a symptom of a general phenomenon?

Do Germans Have a Predilection for the Nebulous?
Jan 122015
 
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Katharina Landfester

Prof. Dr. Katharina Landfester is a director at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz. Together with her husband Dr. Volker Mailänder, she has two children. In a very personal assay, Prof. Landfester describes her experience as a woman and mother in the scientific world and how they managed to balance their scientific careers and family life showing us why instead of hesitating, sometimes it is best to just do it.

Combining Family and Work – Just Do It
Jan 122015
 
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Andreas Neidlinger

Till Opatz is full professor of organic chemistry at the University of Mainz. He took up his position in Mainz in 2010 after working as a professor in Hamburg, where his wife holds a position as professor for developmental neurophysiology. They have a 17 months old daughter and we were wondering how the family life with two parents in such demanding positions can be managed. In between his busy schedule as a professor and father, Prof. Opatz took the time to answer some questions about the difficulties that parents in academia have to face.

Being a Parent in Academia – Interview with Till Opatz
Jan 122015
 
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Katharina Stockhofe, Kristina Klinker

Since 2011, the Family Service Center at the University of Mainz is the central institution for parents and university members taking care of relatives. It is dedicated to the support of students and university employees through the collection and improvement of services aimed specifically at parents. Stefanie Schmidberger is project manager at Family Service Center Mainz. She studied the History of Art, Book Studies, and German Language in Mainz. Furthermore, she is trained in career and educational guidance.

For the full text, click here:

Childcare at the University of Mainz – Talk with Stefanie Schmidberger
Nov 112014
 
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Wolter Seuntjens

Dutch Academy of ‘Pataphysics, Amsterdam

Received 09.10.2014, accepted 03.11.2014, published 11.11.2014

JUnQ, 5, 1, Views, ### (not final page numbering), 2015

Sexual promiscuity can be studied quantitatively as a behavior. The qualitative study of the emotions and motives associated with promiscuity is secondary. When heterosexual behavior is studied quantitatively promiscuity is necessarily equal among males and females. In other words, contrary to contemporary popular opinion, the group of human males and the group of human females have the same average number of sex partners.

Read more: Which is the More Promiscuous Sex?

Oct 232014
 
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Raphaël Lévya

aStructural and Chemical Biology, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool Biosciences Bldg, Crown Street, L69 7ZB, UK

Received 17.10.2014, accepted 21.10.2014, published 23.10.2014

JUnQ, 5, 1, Views, XXX, 2015

In the last couple of years, partly because of my involvement in the stripy controversy (more below), I have thought a lot about publishing… and concluded (along with many other people) that the system is absurd, worse, toxic. Public funds are paid to commercial publishers to put publicly-funded research behind paywalls. The (unpaid) hard work of reviewers (which may or may not have led to improvements in the article) remains confidential and does not benefit the community. Publicly-funded researchers waste their time reviewing articles which have already been reviewed several times by other researchers for other journals. Researchers are evaluated on the impact factor of the journals in which they publish even though this is not at all a mea- surement of the quality of an article.[1,2] There is a serious reproducibility crisis[3] but no incentive to reproduce or criticise published work. Those flaws and their consequences can be illustrated by briefly looking at two recent controversies.

Read more: Where to publish our next paper? – Letter to a group member

The Article (and much more) is also available on Raphaël Lévys Blog