Elsewhere in Science, 16 May 2014

Each week, Science publishes a number of articles that are likely to be of interest to career-minded readers. Because those articles are published on the other Science sites, Science Careers readers could easily overlook them.

To remedy that, every Friday we’re pointing our readers toward articles appearing in Science—the print magazine as well as ScienceInsider, ScienceNOW, Science Translational Medicine (Sci. TM), and Science Signaling—that hold some relevance to careers in science and other technical fields. (Note that articles appearing in Sci. TM, Science Signaling, and Science may require AAAS—the publisher of Science Careers—membership, a Science subscription, or a site license.)

► No doubt there are plenty of people who enjoy doodling while in meetings, but for graduate student Alex Cagan, drawing is an actual note-taking tool. Tuesday, ScienceNow presented a slideshow of drawings Cagan made at last week’s Biology of Genomes meeting in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Cagan, who attends the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, created 54 cartoons—each a caricature of the speaker with notes expressing the gist of the presentation— then posted them on Twitter. “When I try to remember the talk, if I have notes with the actual person, it triggers my memory,” Cagan explains. “When I just have text, it’s harder to remember.”

► The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives isn’t known for being especially friendly to science. But lately the House has seemed to be on the side of science, often in opposition to the White House. For example, last Wednesday ScienceInsider reported that a House spending bill would block a White House proposal to shut down an airborne telescope and possibly a couple of NASA’s planetary explorer missions. Later that day, ScienceInsider reported that the appropriations bill would also save a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in North Carolina that the White House budget request would close.

Then on Friday, ScienceInsider reported that the House had passed, with bipartisan support, a permanent R&D tax credit. The R&D tax credit was allowed to lapse at the end of last year, after a long series of temporary extensions. Opinions on the effectiveness of the credit vary, but it almost certainly encourages some innovation—and the hiring of some scientists by private companies. The White House, however, has threatened a veto: Seeking to one-up the House in the budget-austerity fight, the administration insists that the tax break’s estimated $156 billion cost (over a decade) be offset by new taxes or spending cuts.

► On Monday at ScienceInsider, Aleszu Bajak reported the results of a new meta-analysis showing that students in lecture classes are far more likely to fail than students in courses that use “active learning” methods. “The change in the failure rates is whopping,” says biologist Scott Freeman of the University of Washington, Seattle. And the exam improvement—about 6%—could “bump [a student’s] grades from a B– to a B.”  Noah Finkelstein, a professor of physics who directs the Center for STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] Learning at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and who was not involved in the study, doesn’t think the result is likely to kill off lectures entirely. “There are still times when lectures will be needed, but the traditional mode of stand-and-deliver is being demonstrated as less effective at promoting student learning and preparing future teachers.”

► After decades of fighting with animal rights extremists, scientists in the United Kingdom have decided that the best approach is to adopt a policy of openness, Daniel Cleary wrote at Insider.

► If you’re a scientist in Australia and you aren’t doing biomedical research, you’re unlikely to be happy with the new science budget. Leigh Dayton wrote about it Tuesday at ScienceInsider.

► And if you’re participating in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, you probably already know that neuroscience research poses some unique and interesting ethical issues for researchers. After all, it “strikes at the very core of who we are,” said political scientist and philosopher Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania, in a call with reporters on Tuesday, quoted by Emily Underwood in a Insider. Gutmann chairs the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, which on Wednesday released recommendations for integrating ethics into neuroscience research. Judy Illes, a neuroethicist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, called the report “a dream come true.”

► In this week’seditorial, Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt, who recently participated in a Science Careers Webinar, steals a page from Science Careers by arguing—enthusiastically but soberly—for widespread acceptance of nonresearch careers. Speaking of the members of the panel, she wrote:

After a short plug for myIDP, she concludes:

If you are considering making the move from the lab, you are not alone. This transition is taking place at all career levels, spurred by different motivations. Whatever the reason, many have successfully taken this road, and so can you.

Here, here!

► In News & Analysis, Jennifer Couzin-Frankel wrote about the National Institutes of Health’s announcement that it will soon require researchers to balance sex in animal and cell experiments. Why? “Sex ‘really has to be considered as a fundamental variable’ when designing experiments, says Janine Clayton, director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health.”

Is there a downside? Some expect the new policy to make some experiments more expensive, requiring more animals and more cells.

► In Egypt, a scientist is being held responsible for damages ensued by her former university after she changed employers, Jennifer Carpenter wrote in News & Analysis. In 2005, Rania Siam left Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST) near Cairo for the American University in Cairo, seeking better working conditions. MUST sued, and “an Egyptian judge in March ordered Siam to pay MUST $49,000—the sum of the forfeited grant—in addition to court and attorney fees, and more than $14,000 in damages. Last week, Siam filed an appeal with the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest judicial authority,” Carpenter wrote.

Top Image: CREDIT: Alex Cagan

Is Unionization Gaining Steam on Private Campuses?

Career Q&As