Fruit flies and maggot brains – the magic of Soapbox Science
Soapbox Science is a novel (and very popular!) public outreach platform for promoting women and non-binary scientists and the science they do. Ahead of their upcoming London event, we caught up with Isla Watton, who is responsible for recruiting and training Soapbox Science Local Organising Teams and supporting the delivery of Soapbox Science events globally, and Hui Gong, a neuroscientist at The Francis Crick Institute and one of the London speakers for Soapbox Science 2023! Here's what we covered in our hour-long chat!
Seven million open research objects and counting – a conversation with Figshare founder Mark Hahnel
On April 13th 2023, Mark tweeted that Figshare had reached seven million outputs, a significant milestone in anyone’s book! He and I jumped on a quick call to discuss what that achievement means for Figshare, and before we knew it our chat had meandered onto what it was like in the very early days of Figshare and Overleaf, and how milestones and celebrations change as the numbers keep going up and to the right! :) We hope you enjoy where the conversation takes us.
From research diary to Paladin AI
Ten years ago, in 2013, I wrote about using WriteLaTeX (now Overleaf) for academic research. At the time, I was a graduate student in computational astrophysics at McMaster University, studying the formation of massive stars using large-scale computer simulations. In addition to doing cutting-edge research, I was also trying to build good habits as a scientist, which meant keeping detailed notes and tracking experiments. Today I work in applied machine learning and have founded my own start-up, Paladin AI.
FuturePub is back! Here’s what happened on May the 4th
Our write-up of the night! We take a look back at a successful FuturePub event, our first since the pandemic. FuturePub took place on May the Fourth (be with you) at The Royal Institution in London, the historic home of engaging people with research. Read on to learn about the event, discover who gave a lightning talk and how you can watch them on-demand, and check out our photo gallery.
Reproducibility and Research Integrity top UK research agenda
Digital Science reflections on The House of Commons Science, Innovation and Technology Committee report on Reproducibility and Research Integrity The new Reproducibility and Research Integrity report released by The House of Commons Science, Innovation and Technology Committee is a timely reminder that Digital Science plays a critical role in supporting research integrity and reproducibility across the sector globally. The following is our response to the report’s findings.
Tinker, Researcher, Prompter, Wizard
Until six months ago most of us probably hadn’t placed the words “prompt” and “engineer” in close proximity (except possibly for anyone involved in a construction project where a colleague had arrived to work consistently on time). Today, a “prompt engineer” is one of a new class of emerging jobs in a Large Language Model (LLM)-fueled world. Paid in the “telephone-number”-salary region, a prompt engineer is a modern day programmer-cum-wizard who understands how to make an AI do their bidding.
Down the rabbit hole – exploring inequalities in funding of climate change research
Misha’s article “A tragedy of inequalities” -- highlighting differences in research funding of climate change research -- was recently published on the Dimensions blog. I chatted to Misha about how the article came about, what she learned whilst writing it, and the most surprising thing she found out -- that STEM fields get 770% more funding than humanities, and only 3.8% of funding is allocated to climate research on Africa.
The importance of adding context
Adding context is one of the most important things that we do at Digital Science, whether that be through the tools that we make available to the research community while they’re making decisions, carrying out research or communicating their findings, or through our direct outreach and engagement with the community such as on our blogs and in our reports. TL;DR is not just a place to write our thoughts – it is a conversation. It is at once a place for us to test ideas and to showcase methods and techniques, and at the same it is a place to connect with a community, to receive feedback and so to better understand our context.
Research Twitter – where everybody knows your name
Despite recent disruption, social media platforms and Twitter in particular remain a valuable space to build research communities and break down barriers to inclusion and cross-disciplinary research. Data from Altmetric shows us that, despite some high-profile defectors, the volume of research being shared on Twitter has not been impacted by recent events. If we are to find a new space for research engagement, what would we like to keep and what would we like to see more of?
Pivoting to COVID research during lockdown – an interview with Professor Rudo Römer, theoretical physicist
The worldwide COVID pandemic was a crisis unparalleled in recent history. The efforts of scientists and researchers around the world in mobilising to find vaccines, treatments, and explanations were equally unparalleled. In this article, we tell the story of one such research collaboration using their collective expertise in protein-modelling to help build a picture of the SARS-CoV-2 virus structure. Moreover, using modern collaborative writing tools, they were able to write up and publish their work during the height of the pandemic.