Preprint ban reversal, vaccine boosters and awards bias

Scientists examine corals in a laboratory on the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Queensland.Credit: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket/Getty

Australian funder backflips on preprint ban

Australia’s main analysis funding physique has backtracked on a rule that banned the mention of preprints in grant applications.

The coverage adjustment by the Australian Research Council (ARC) comes 4 weeks after an nameless researcher behind the ARC Tracker account on Twitter revealed that dozens of purposes for early-career funding schemes had been rejected for citing preprints.

Announcing the U-turn in a press release on 14 September, the funder mentioned the choice “reflects contemporary trends and the emerging significance of preprint acceptance and use across multiple research disciplines as a mechanism to expedite research”.

According to the assertion, future grant purposes won’t be excluded for citing or together with preprints — however the change won’t apply routinely to purposes that had been dominated ineligible or are presently below evaluation.

Some researchers welcome the reversal, however others say that the transfer doesn’t go far sufficient. Nick Enfield, an anthropologist on the University of Sydney, applauds the choice however finds it “regrettable that eligibility rulings haven’t been overturned”.

A paramedic injects a vaccine into a person's shoulder.

A resident of an assisted-living facility in Israel receives a 3rd dose of COVID-19 vaccine.Credit: Nir Alon/Zuma Press

COVID vaccine booster exhibits promise

Older Israelis who’ve acquired a 3rd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are much less likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 or to develop severe COVID-19 than are those that have had solely two jabs, in accordance with a extremely anticipated examine revealed on 15 September (Y. M. Bar-On et al. N. Engl. J. Med.; 2021).

The examine evaluated 1.1 million Israelis over the age of 60 who had acquired their first two doses a minimum of 5 months earlier. Twelve or extra days after receiving a 3rd jab, contributors had been about 19.5 occasions much less more likely to have extreme COVID-19 than had been folks in the identical age group who had acquired solely two jabs and had been studied throughout the same time interval.

“It’s a very strong result,” says Susan Ellenberg, a biostatistician on the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who provides that the information is perhaps probably the most sturdy she has seen in favour of boosters. But potential biases within the knowledge depart some scientists unconvinced that boosters are obligatory for all populations — and the information don’t dispel issues about vaccine fairness when billions of individuals are nonetheless ready for his or her first jab.

Five scientists sitting in a row on a white sofa.

Winners on the L’Oreal-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science International in 2016. L–R: Jennifer Doudna, Hualan Chen, Andrea Gamarnik, Quarraisha Abdool Karim and Emmanuelle Charpentier.Credit: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Fondation L’Oreal/Getty

Women much less more likely to win main analysis awards

Women’s share of prizes rewarding analysis excellence is rising, however nonetheless lags behind the proportion of professorial positions held by women, in accordance with an evaluation of 141 main science prizes awarded over the previous 2 a long time.

Lokman Meho, an data scientist on the American University of Beirut, examined whether or not features in professorships for girls have translated into awards honouring their work (L. I. Meho Quant. Sci. Stud.; 2021).

His findings present a narrowing however persistent gender hole within the highest tiers of awards (see ‘Closing the gap’).

Hans Petter Graver, a authorized scholar and president of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo, which administers the Abel and Kavli prizes, says the outcomes ship “a signal to institutions awarding prestigious science prizes to do more for diversity”.

Women have comparable publication and quotation charges to males, however are likely to have shorter careers and publish fewer papers as first or final writer, in accordance with different research.

In his evaluation, Meho recognized 141 extremely prestigious worldwide prizes — together with the Nobel prizes, the Fields Medal for arithmetic and the Robert Koch Award for biomedical sciences — awarded to 2,011 males and 262 girls between 2001 and 2020. He grouped recipients into five-year intervals.

The outcomes present that the variety of awards honouring feminine scientists has elevated previously 20 years, however girls nonetheless stay under-represented. “We are moving in the right direction, although slowly,” Meho says.

Although the examine didn’t look at causes of gender bias, he argues that girls will not be receiving fewer awards due to the standard or amount of their analysis.

Instead, he places it right down to implicit bias, coupled with a scarcity of proactive efforts to deal with inequities in science.

Around two-thirds of the 141 awards acknowledged girls sooner or later between 2016 and 2020, up from 30% of the 111 awards that had been provided in 2001–05. Women’s common share of the prizes, when counting all recipients, neared 20% in 2016–20.

However, this fell in need of the proportion of professorial positions held by girls over the identical interval, Meho discovered.

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