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Two things: good and bad

Posted 13 March 2014 by Kausik Datta

Two things I encountered today, good and bad in equal measures. First, the good. In the recent past, I received an invitation for reviewing a submitted manuscript from a noted journal (which shall remain nameless). The topic of the study verged on pharmacognosy and ethnobotany, both areas of knowledge that I - as an erstwhile drug discovery researcher in another lifetime - find fascinating. I accepted the invitation to review because the study piqued my interest. The review, however, proved... Read more

Dwindling Intellectual Capital in US Science Research: How Sequestration Continues to Hurt Long-term US Interests

Posted 28 February 2014 by Kausik Datta

For a while, I have been following and writing on the terrible science funding crunch situation in the US as a result of sequestration, whose ill effects were compounded by the period of government shutdown. I heard the alarm bells at the end of 2010 (when my blog was still a part of Nature Blogs); it scared me to find out how much even the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) seemed to agree with me on this. The... Read more

A Renewed Fondness For Peer Review… Can it be?

Posted 27 February 2014 by Kausik Datta

Via Teh Grauniad, science correspondent Ian Sample reported today on a phenomenon that is at once hilarious and extremely concerning for the academic science research community. Allow me to summarize a part of Ian's report. Three enterprising MIT grad students, Jeremy Stribling, Dan Aguayo and Maxwell Krohn, wanted to run a sting operation to reveal the practice, by some scientific conferences of dubious provenance, of indiscriminately accepting papers of dubious significance with a view to bringing in registration fees. They... Read more

Love Smart, Delightful Elephantics? Let It Be Free

Posted 27 February 2014 by Kausik Datta

I don't know why, but I have always loved those gentle giants, elephants. Whether it is because of growing up in India (a large part of the Indian subcontinent is home to Elephas maximus, the Asian Elephant), or listening to the stories of Ganesha, the cute-but-powerful and mischievous god of Hindu theology, or reading about Hathi, the old and respected head of the elephant troop, who becomes a friend to Mowgli in Kipling's The Jungle Book, my perennial favorite - I... Read more

“Faith Healing”, medical neglect by another name

Posted 21 February 2014 by Kausik Datta

In Scientio Veritas is my blog for talking about professional matters, related to science in health and disease, and so forth; and long-time readers (if any!) may know that I don't like to bring in discussions on the controversial (and - I think - personal to many) issue of religion or religious faith, unless the specific issue impinges upon scientific and/or public health matters. Today, two of my scientist-blogger friends highlighted via social media a particular case of the latter... Read more

“Holy” Liver Transplant, Batman!

Posted 18 February 2014 by Kausik Datta

A friend of mine pointed me to this rather... interesting (for want of a better word) study the other day. (What can I say? I have interesting friends!) Published in the journal Liver Transplantation (an organ of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases), the paper is entitled: Religiosity Associated with Prolonged Survival in Liver Transplant Recipients1 by Bonaguidi et al. of the Institute of Clinical Physiology of the National Research Council of Italy and the University of... Read more

Plight of Fungal Genetics Stock Center: NSF-funding declined

Posted 10 February 2014 by Kausik Datta

Last fall, I wrote with a great deal of concern about the deleterious effect of the sequestration on Federally-funded Biomedical Research in the United States, including real-life examples of scientists in jeopardy highlighted in the Huffington Post. In another post, I pointed out how sequestration-mandated cuts to funding from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), coupled with the ill-conceived government shutdown, were seriously imperiling invaluable and irreplaceable scientific research. Although the shutdown was rescinded by the third week of October... Read more

#ScioLang Conversation Continues: English as a Medium of Curricular Instruction?

Posted 3 February 2014 by Kausik Datta

I have had on Twitter a fairly good response to my inaugural ScioLang post. A hearty thank you to all who responded. My post was shared and retweeted several times, and I have been able to find the names of a few more persons who, I think, can contribute meaningfully to this discussion. This post is to talk about two issues. First, the minor one. The #ScioLang is primarily a Twitter-based conversation (to my understanding), which is a brilliant use... Read more

#ScioLang, a Grand Project to Share the Fun of Science with Non-English-speaking Audiences

Posted 1 February 2014 by Kausik Datta

Folks, folks! I have gotten myself involved in a grand and rather exciting project related to Science Communication, which followed my getting acquainted with Seattle-based scientist and science communicator Dr. Ivan Fernando Gonzalez (NOTE) quite accidentally, on Twitter. This project I referred to is borne out of Ivan's desire to bridge multicultural communities in science. Christened Sciolang (its twitter avatar, of course, comes with its own hashtag, #Sciolang), this project aspires to initiate and sustain a conversation about sharing and... Read more

PLOS One paper on Anthelmintic Efficacy of Gold Nanoparticles: My Questions to Authors

Posted 31 January 2014 by Kausik Datta

Every so often, some paper happens to grab my attention for various reasons. As I read the paper, often I have questions. Not all of those questions, unfortunately, can be easily submitted for answers. In recent times, one such paper was published earlier this month in PLOS One. The great benefit of the Open-Access model of PLOS is that it allows a reader to ask questions directly of the authors. This level of engagement is very laudable, especially to someone... Read more