Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Archive for June 2012

Science Policy Around the Web – June 21, 2012

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By: Rebecca Cerio

Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

The Real Cost of Research – A recent National Academies of Science report held a recommendation for federal grant funds to pay 100% of so-called “indirect costs” or research overhead (everything from the light bill to the lease on the buildings research is done in).  Jeffrey Mervis examines this issue and why everyone involved–government, universities, and researchers–should care about indirect costs. (via Science)

Why the Scientist Stereotype is Bad for Everyone, Especially Kids – Do scientists have an image problem?  And if so…how should we address it?  A non-scientist gives his take on the issue.  (by Michael Brooks via Wired)

Regulations for Biosimilars – Generic biologics (drugs based off biological molecules, such as interferon-α or a host of others) will soon be hitting the market as the original biologics patents expire.  But the biological properties of these drugs, their complexity, and the difficulties involved in consistently manufacturing them will require them to be regulated more stringently than FDA regulations currently require.  (by Lisa A. Haile and Kimberly K. Egan via The Scientist)

Have an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

Written by sciencepolicyforall

June 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Science Policy Around the Web – June 14, 2012

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By: Rebecca Cerio

Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

Horizon 2020: A €80 Billion Battlefield for Open Access – The European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation could help to change the face of the science journal publishing industry, depending on how soon after publication it requires publicly funded research needs to be accessible to the public.  (via Science)

Scholarly Publishing 2012: Meet PeerJ – What if you could pay one flat rate and publish as many peer-reviewed articles as you wish…forever?  New biosciences journal PeerJ is making noise in the blogosphere with just this model.  Check out this interview with PeerJ’s cofounder, Peter Binfield, via Publishers’ Weekly, where he describes PeerJ’s business model and their vision for academic publishing.

Getting in the Access Loop – I wish I could attend your webinar on enabling more health researchers in Africa to effectively publish their work but, ironically, I will not be able to get to the Internet at that time . . .”  A very poignant reminder from Anne Radl and the Humanitarian Centre that there are many biomedical researchers who do not have steady access to journals for a variety of technical and financial reasons and thus have reduced ability to publish their work. (via PLoS Blogs)

Found an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

Written by sciencepolicyforall

June 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Science Policy Around the Web – June 7, 2012

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photo credit: Christopher Chan via photo pin cc

By: Rebecca Cerio

Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.


Two Reports and the Worlds They Made
– In a lovely historical tour through two documents that have shaped the current MD and PhD job markets, Beryl Lieff Benderly points out that supply and demand applies to job markets as well as economic ones. (via Science)

What does ‘safe’ mean when we’re talking about chemicals? – Double X Science has an excellent post about exactly what it says in the title:   a nice discussion of what we mean by “safe” when it comes to the everyday chemicals in our environment (such as, yes, the insidious dihydrogen monoxide).

Graduate Enrollment in Science and Engineering Grew Substantially in the Past Decade – Kelly Kang from the National Science Foundation outlines the record-breaking numbers of graduate students in science, engineering, and math programs.  Is this a step towards providing America with the high-tech workforce that politicians always ask for, or an increasing problem for the graduates themselves (check out section 4 starting on page 18 for the gist)?
Found an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

Written by sciencepolicyforall

June 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm

The Potential and Pitfalls of Direct to Consumer Genetic Tests

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By:  Danielle Daee

At the genomic level approximately 0.1% of our genomic sequence differs from person to person.  Some of these subtle genetic variations have important physiological consequences, which are reflected in our risk for developing diseases and our overall health.  In recent years genome-wide association studies have sifted through individuals’ entire genomic sequences to try and identify genetic variants that are associated with increased disease risk.  While these studies are highly informative, they often lack the functional studies required to close the gap between correlation and causation.  After all, without knowing what the changes in a particular gene do, there is no way to understand whether that change is actually the cause of a particular disease.

Despite the caveats to interpreting correlative association studies, several biotech companies have developed direct to consumer (DTC) genomic tests to help consumers identify their personal risk for various diseases.  These tests present a variety of public health policy concerns.  Foremost is whether or not companies are overstating the usefulness and understating the caveats of genetic information to their consumers.  Furthermore, are consumers adequately equipped to interpret the results of genomic tests without a trained professional?

In May 2010, Pathway Genomics announced a plan to offer their genetic testing services at Walgreens pharmacies.  This plan marked the transition of DTC genetic testing sales from a less-accessible, internet commerce model to an over-the-counter sales model that would dramatically increase accessibility.  This increased reach sparked a firestorm of public concern and triggered an investigation by the General Accounting Office, a Congressional Committee hearing, and a Federal Drug Administration (FDA) panel discussion to determine how regulation of DTC tests should proceed. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by danidaee

June 5, 2012 at 11:53 am