The response of open access science to the coronavirus

Two open science platforms: Frontiers and Figshare are doing their part in the fight against the virus.

“The Frontiers community is mobilizing to help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, Frontiers have launched our Coronavirus Knowledge Hub – here you will find the outputs of several new initiatives intended to coordinate and support the efforts of our community, as we confront the public-health, economic and societal effects of the rapidly spreading disease.

As part of this initiative, Frontiers is assembling many of the world’s leading coronavirus scientists and epidemiologists to participate in the Research Topic: ‘Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Pathophysiology, Epidemiology, Clinical Management and Public Health Response’. This article collection will highlight how interdisciplinary research can provide insights into the COVID-19 epidemic, addressing knowledge gaps and generating evidence for its improved management and control.

Coronavirus Knowledge Hub
A trusted source for the latest science on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19

Frontiers has also waived Article Processing Charges (APCs) and established a priority peer-review process for manuscripts submitted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will further help ensure robust scientific research becomes openly available as soon as possible, for other researchers to build on and to enable evidence-based decision-making for public authorities worldwide.

As we pull together as a community – calmly, responsibly, and resolutely – during this COVID-19 outbreak, Frontiers is keen to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to send your ideas for new research directions, stakeholder engagement and initiatives around coronavirus and the current global health crisis. Making science open has never been more essential to global well-being and Frontiers thank you for your contribution and dedication”

Figshare is also committed to continuing to provide a platform to share the latest research on an international scale. As such, Figshare will continue to supply and maintain our normal service during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are also in a unique position to help the research community during this time so the team has been working on some new initiatives to aid the rapid dissemination of research in any form, be it preprints, datasets, presentations, or software.
The significance of sharing research is vitally important, now more than ever, which is why we want to help in any way we can. To allow researchers to publish any COVID-19 related research, we’re launching a free portal at https://COVID19.figshare.com/.

All researchers will need to do is create an account on Figshare and upload content with COVID-19 as one of the keywords on their metadata form and we’ll pull it into the COVID-19 Open Research Portal.

Please note, if your institution uses Figshare as a data or institutional repository, please continue to use that platform to store and share your COVID-19 research. COVID-19 research stored in institutional Figshare platforms will also be aggregated into https://COVID19.figshare.com.

If you’d like to learn more about the https://COVID19.figshare.com portal or have any questions, please visit the Figshare blog, here or reach out at support@figshare.com.

The beauty of life […] find your smile when you are about to cry

The beauty of life, the beauty of helping each other, especially in difficult times, find your smile when you are about to cry.

A poem by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, 1979.

We plant a seed that will one day grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations
that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation
in realising that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning,
a step along the way,

VIII International Symposium SRUK/CERU – interested talks relevant to the day-to-day life of any researcher

On 12th of March, the Organizing Committee, being its primary concern the health and wellbeing of everyone, has decided to postpone the International Symposium until the WHO declares that the risk related to COVID-19 has disappeared. As soon as we know the new date, we will publish it, in order for you to have greater certainty about your travel schedule and plans.

Date to be confirmed!!! The VIII International Symposium SRUK/CERU (new date different from 10-12 of July) to be hold in Oxford! With its theme Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (A. C. Clark), we will look into how science has evolved in a way that was very difficult to imagine in a not so distant past. More details to follow, here and on SRUK social media.

Speakers on Leadership, Science Policy, Science Divulgación (youtuber, )
Grant proposals, Resilience for researchers wellbeing, Time Management… Be ready to develop soft and hard skills and meet other colleagues to share goals and maximise opportunities and benefits.

We want you!

We are looking for a student that wants to do a short research stay in The University of Sheffield, UK

The student should be highly motivated to do research and experimental, lab work.

This is a multidisciplinary project, that fits students from last years of bachelors to PhD degree, from degrees on environmental sciences, geotechnical engineering, chemistry, hydrology or geology .

Research Areas: Environmental Sciences, Geology, Hydrology, Geotechnical engineering, Chemistry.

….

Project Description

Title: Evaluation of recycled landfill barriers against pollution: from centrifuge scale to reality
Research topic of the short-stay period:
The dumping of waste produces a toxic liquid (namely leachate) that percolates downwards, polluting the surrounding areas and groundwater. To stop the migration of the leachate pollutants, barriers are required. The objective is to predict the performance of recycled and reactive barriers in the long term to build sustainable landfills. For this, we will use one of the biggest (2-m diameter) and most advanced geotechnical centrifuge (www.sheffield.ac.uk/ceigr/about). There are only 30 centrifuge of this type in the world and no one in Spain. To mimic the landfill barriers, clays blended with recycled materials will be compacted until 3-10 cm height at their optimum moisture in a cylinder of 10 cm diameter. The compacted cylinders will be permeated with Manchester landfill leachate and gas (50% CO2) while spinning in the centrifuge, to ensure conditions similar to reality. The speed (gravities) and time of spinning (days) set in the centrifuge will provide equivalences to barriers of 2.5 m thickness max. and time of 30-100 years. After centrifugation, each cylinder will be sliced into 6-10 samples, representing different depths of the barrier. The porewater (obtained in aqueous extracts 1/2 -1/2.5 solid-to-liquid ratio after bench centrifugation and 0.45µm-filtration) will be analysed for pH and electrical conductivity (electrodes), major anions and ammonium (IC), metals and rest of major cations (ICP-MS) and carbon (TIC/TOC analyser). The barriers tested will then be ranked from the least to the most effective one. The effect of rainwater on the reversibility of the attenuation will be considered, too.
Knowledge, skills and competences acquired by the student at the end of the short-stay (expected Learning Outcomes):
S/he will:
– acquire scientific knowledge covering from fundamental research (namely experimental analysis of multi-component solute transport in compacted porous media) to applied research (namely geotechnical and geochemical engineering design of barrier systems from first principles)
– develop theoretical, practical and modelling skills in the evaluation and design of sustainable barrier systems to mitigate contaminant emissions from wastes disposal facilities
– access the noteworthy training offered by the host institution, such as:
—> research project, team-building and effective communication
—> academic and research writing in English, good publication practice guidelines and bibliometric analyses
—> effective presentations to different audiences using different media…
Monitoring plan: Available under request
Evaluation plan: Available under request
Benefits of the research short-stay to the host
In turn the student will provide relevant support in lab-scale experiments for studying the attenuation processes through landfill barriers. The supervisor will give continuous training to the student and transfer her/him unique analytical and technical skills, from the very first moment. This will ensure a rapid productive start of the student in the host institution, under appropriate knowledge and direct supervision. Specifically, student will help in the:
– preparation of barriers (homogenizing, sieving, blending, moistening, curing, compacting)
– geotechnical engineering tests (soil consistency and permeability)
– sampling of barriers after geotechnical centrifugation
– preparation of aqueous extracts and determination of moisture contents 
– sample preparation for chemical analyses

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Mental illness and even suicides affect the general research community, not just academics, but also senior and early career researchers. Could we do better to prevent this? For instance, by trying to reduce the pressures that can cause emotional and mental issues (Fig. 1). As a better practice than penalties a posterior like this measure.

Some examples of suicides are this lecturer who was hugely overworked or this post-doctoral fellow who felt isolated, unsupported, and profoundly unhappy (Fig. 2); or this talented scientist who was bullied.

Figure 1.
Figure 2.

Scientific consensus on climate for years, but have things changed at all?

The image below belongs to the presentation of Lewandowsky during the EU4facts (Brussels, 2017):

Still the last warning by scientists was made on the 5th of November 2019 in an article from William J Ripple and colleagues, published by BioSciencehttps://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806

Why have not things changed despite the warnings in the last 20 years? What can we do to get politicians into action? What can be done? go on strike? even if it is only for one day?

In case you would like to start helping the conservation of nature and improving our quality of life, see some simple advice (David Suzuki Foundation):

1.Reduce home energy use by 10%·         

2.Choose energy-efficient homes & appliances·         

3.Don’t use pesticides·         

4.Eat meat-free meals one day a week·         

5.Buy locally grown and produced food·        

6.Choose a fuel-efficient vehicle·         

7.Walk, bike, carpool or take transit·        

8.Choose a home close to work or school·         

9.Support alternative transportation

Looking after your self-ie: A guide to finding your balance on and offline

It was launched a free online e-learning resource Looking after your self-ie. The e-learning resource aims to help all social media users build a meaningful, more balanced relationship with platforms where use is conscious and mindful, and the user is in control.

The programme explores a range of different issues including social media’s impact on loneliness, relationships, self-image, self-esteem, sleep, online trolling and bullying.
They are also encouraging all users to share photos of themselves participating in acts of self-care with the hashtag #LookingAfterYourSelfie
Access the e-learning

Turning ‘failure’ into success, and ‘boredom’ into innovation

Failed and Bored” is the upcoming conference organized by the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA). The conference provides a positive perspective on failure and boredom in science and business. This conference draws on MCAA fellows success stories and literary anecdotes to explain the importance of failure & ordinary subjects in research, the advantages of embracing it and the power of leveraging your mistakes to stimulate personal growth. It targets researchers, entrepreneurs, and startups and is free of charge for all MCAA members.

Date: 28 September 2019
Time: 9.00h – 21.00h CET
Venue: University of Innsbruck, Austria

Find more info and register here.

International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation: 11, 12 and 13 Nov

One of the largest international education conferences for lecturers, researchers, technologists and professionals from the educational sector is ICERI2019. This year, the 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation will be held in Seville (Spain) on the 11, 12 and 13 of November 2019.

After 12 years, ICERI has become a reference event where more than 700 experts from 80 countries will get together to present their projects and share their knowledge on teaching and learning methodologies and educational innovations. The 2019 edition of ICERI is sure to be among the most successful education conferences in Europe.

If you wish to share your experiences and projects in the area of education, research and innovation, you can submit your abstract proposal for ICERI2019 here: https://iated.org/iceri/call_for_papers