Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Archive for July 2012

Science Policy Around the Web – July 20, 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.

Mixed Report for Oiled Salt Marshes Ed Yong reports on the damage to Louisiana wetlands, post-Deepwater Horizon spill…and how it has only accelerated wetland destruction that was already in progress.  The spill has highlighted an evolving problem with conservation of wetlands.   (via The Scientist)

New Federal Ban on Synthetic Drugs Already Obsolete – Chemicals that mimic the biological effects of the active compounds in illegal drugs like marijuana and methamphetamine have been recently banned in the new Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012.  However, the ban’s specificity has already rendered it obsolete, since new compounds are already for sale that aren’t covered by the law.  Wired also has a nice, slightly older article on the chemical fundamentals that make this possible.   (by Brandon Keim via Wired)

UK Sets Down New Rules For Expanding Access to Research – The UK’s Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings has hopped on the open access train, laying down new publishing mandates for publicly-funded research.  The group’s report “recommended a balanced programme of action to enable more people to read and use the publications arising from research, and to accelerate the progress towards a fully open access environment.” (via Research Information Network)

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

Written by sciencepolicyforall

July 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Science Policy Around the Web – July 13, 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.

Making Big Data Easier to Access – Two new initiatives–one from the new journal GigaScience and one from PLoS and data repository, Dryad–aim to make today’s complex scientific data easier to publish, distribute, and re-use.  Both acknowledge the difficulty of publishing, curating, and archiving large, complicated datasets from everything from genomic sequencing initiatives to neurological studies and aim to make these files more readily available.

And, two articles from Amanda Glassman and Rachel Silverman via the Center for Global Development’s blog.  Thanks to the Global Health Interest Forum for the link to these!

Failure to Launch:  A Post-Mortem of the Global Health Initiative – “[In 2009], the Global Health Initiative (GHI) promised a new way for the United States to do business in global health. Fragmented U.S. programs would be united under a single banner; vertical structures would be dismantled in favor of an integrated approach; and narrow, disease-focused programs would transition toward a focus on broader health challenges, such as maternal health, child survival, and health systems’ strengthening.  Flash forward to this past Tuesday, when the GHI blog posted its own death notice.”

Contraception: Necessary but Not Sufficient – An excellent piece on how increasing access to contraception does not always lead to a reduction in poor women’s fertility.   Glassman and Silverman point out that having children can be influenced by social and cultural forces linked to socioeconomic status, disenfranchisement, and a lack of opportunities, which make having children the most empowering choice available.  Thus, they conclude, an increased focus solely on contraception may be less useful than a comprehensive program addressing women’s lack of economic and educational opportunities.

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Written by sciencepolicyforall

July 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

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Gene Patenting: Ethical and Legal Issues

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By:  Jessica Scherrer Lamb

The role of intellectual property in the health care sphere can be controversial.  In a society where health care costs are a significant issue, it is easy to question whether the contributions companies make in research, development, and manufacturing justify the price protection and licensing fees patents enable.  Many scientists worry that patents hinder research, either by patent holders’ direct interference or because competing companies will not invest in developing products that might infringe on existing patents.  Furthermore, products derived from human tissue introduce problems of donor consent and ownership.  While these issues are important in all areas of biomedical research, the idea of “gene patents” seems to raise eyebrows the highest.  Read the rest of this entry »

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July 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

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Science Policy Around the Web – July 5, 2012

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By: Rebecca Cerio

Our (bi-, in this case) weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

How The Affordable Care Act Will Affect Research“The key provisions that have a bearing on the lives and work of biomedical researchers include the establishment of a streamlined US Food and Drug Administration pathway for the approval of generic versions of protein-based drugs, so-called biosimilars; the creation of a translational research initiative at the National Institutes of Health called the Cures Acceleration Network; the launch of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which would require pharmaceutical and device makers to disclose all payments greater than $10 to physicians, and a push to increase funding for comparative effectiveness research.” (by Bob Grant via The Scientist)

Cancer By The Numbers – A bit of math and a dash of psychology suggests why it is so difficult to make people believe that more disease screening is not always better.  I like this article for its very concise description of how a relatively accurate test for a rare disease might give two false positives for every true positive it detects.  (by John Allen Paulos via Project Syndicate)

Postdoctoral Researchers—Facts, Trends, and GapsAverage time to Ph.D., average postdoc length, average salaries….  Finally, we know!  Sally Rockey, NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research, discusses some hard numbers on the postdoctoral landscape that have emerged from NIH’s Biomedical Workforce Task Force.  She’s also discussed similar types of data from the task force about graduate students on her blog, Rock Talk.

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

Written by sciencepolicyforall

July 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm