DORA or to give its full name, the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, continues to make friends and stir up dust. In an editorial in Cell entitled "June is the Cruelest Month," Emilie Marcus, the Executive Editor of Cell Press, gave a chilly reception to the arrival of the latest edition of the "two-year JIF," the journal citation algorithm from Thomson Reuters that rates scholarly publications for "impact." Marcus said that the JIF's flaws and its widespread abuse were well known in the scientific community and was ample justification for the DORA rebellion. Alas, Cell Press could not sign DORA, Marcus continued, "Because there were specific calls to action that we did not feel we could endorse as constructive and appropriate measures." Without specifying what was unconstructive or inappropriate, Marcus did continue, "We support the goals of DORA and add our voices and actions to bringing about change in how individual scientists are assessed for hiring, promotion, and tenure."
In a rare unanimous decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "natural" genes cannot be patented in the closely watched case of Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics. The outcome of the Myriad case will certainly improve the accessibility of genetic testing for BRCA mutations, which have been identified as significant risk factors for breast and ovarian cancers, but the Court also ruled that cDNA is eligible for patents because it is "not naturally occurring." A quick survey of researchers saw a mixture of good news/no news reactions in the Myriad case.
Bloomberg says Supreme Court's Myriad decision will set off a rush of new genomic medicine tests.
Science News interviews one of the happy plaintiffs in AMP v Myriad.
Harvard Law professor says that the devil may be in the cDNA details in Supreme Court ruling.
Slate: Noah Prywes, a grad student in chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University lays out, "The Supreme Court's Sketchy Science."
Everyone claims a victory in this Voice of America report: "Supreme Court Gene Ruling Benefits Biotech, Breast Cancer Research."
American Civil Liberties Union claims a big free speech victory in the BRCA patent decision.
Here's the actual Court decision. Writing for the unanimous Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas's explanation of DNA and genes for a legal and general audience has been singled out by a number of commentators for its clarity of presentation.
MBL Vote Moves Woods Hole Landmark Toward Deal with University of Chicago
Shakespeare famously set the shipwreck scene of The Winter's Tale in "Bohemia, a desert country near the sea," a geographical stretch unrivaled until the vote last Saturday by the Marine Biology Laboratory (MBL) Corporation, the scientific membership body that holds residual legal rights but no direct control over the MBL in Woods Hole, MA, to affiliate with the University of Chicago (UChicago). The seacoast of Illinois is now one step closer as the members' overwhelming vote of 158-2 gave MBL's Board of Trustees authority to negotiate terms with UChicago in a deal that would hopefully leave the 125-year-old MBL as a distinct institution but provide relief from its ongoing financial woes.
The "journal impact factor" rebellion is spreading. In the two weeks since it first went online, DORA—the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment hat calls on scientists and scientific organizations around the world to minimize use of the journal impact factor (JIF) in evaluating research and researchers—has seen the number of individual signers jump from 155 to 6,083 while the number of scientific organizations signing on has gone from 78 to 231.
An ad hoc coalition of unlikely insurgents—scientists, journal editors and publishers, scholarly societies, and research funders across many scientific disciplines—today posted an international declaration calling on the world scientific community to eliminate the role of the journal impact factor (JIF) in evaluating research for funding, hiring, promotion, or institutional effectiveness.
The year 1953 is generally considered the year zero for molecular cell biology with the publication of Watson and Crick's celebrated Nature paper on the structure of DNA. But there was another big paper in 1953 by Yves Clermont and Charles Leblond of McGill University that appeared in the American Journal of Anatomy.
Stalled traffic and stalled legislation are facts of life in downtown Washington, DC, and yet on Monday (April 8), K Street was blocked off for hours by an unlikely protest group— medical researchers.