Mendeley Data adopts Google Science Datasets standards

Mendeley Data is pleased to announce that we’ve adopted the new Google Science Datasets markup standard for datasets.

For the non-computer science buffs amongst us, this means we describe our datasets in a structured way recognised by Google – which helps Google to index our datasets, and makes them more readily available in their search results.

This also means Google could eventually show datasets in a special way within search results, perhaps by presenting a “rich snippet” for a dataset like the example for a research article below. This makes them more visible and easier to scan by readers.

An example of a “rich snippet” search result, in this case for a research article

 

This applies to all datasets posted so far, as well as any new datasets.

This is all part of our efforts to make the data you share as discoverable as possible by researchers, so that it can be valuable to the community and you can get credit for generating and sharing it.

Any questions, thoughts or suggestions, we would love to hear from you.

 

Introducing Mendeley Funding

Mendeley Funding is a new tool to help researchers find the opportunities to launch their projects.

Researchers are under more pressure than ever before to secure the money they need to do their work. The funding exists: the predicted worldwide spend on research in 2016 was $1.9 trillion. This was an increase of 3.4% on the previous year.

But with so many grants available in such a myriad of subjects via such a large variety of institutions, how can a researcher match their aspirations to the right opportunity?

We’re pleased to announce the launch of Mendeley Funding.

Mendeley Funding is a new tool which catalogues funding opportunities from across the globe. It includes calls for proposals from prominent organisations including the European Union, government departments in the United States like the National Institutes of Health, UK Research councils, and many more.

By using Mendeley Funding, Researchers can:

  • Search for relevant funding
  • Save interesting opportunities
  • Access detailed information about funders

For more information, visit http://www.mendeley.com/funding. Then sign in to Mendeley, access the tool by using the link marked “Funding” in the toolbar, and get searching. A world of opportunities awaits you.

What a disaster! (but this Pint of Science blog post isn’t one!)

 

Earthquakes don’t kill people; People kill people. That is the (maybe?) controversial statement Ilan Kelman is putting forth in his Pint of Science talk next week. Kelman, a reader at University

Ilan Kelman

College London (UK) and University of Agder (Norway), explains how typical environmental events such as earthquakes and storms are made to become disasters through human actions and decisions.

Mendeley is proud to be partnering with Pint of Science for the third year running.

As an introduction to the great talks on offer we’re going to be previewing some of the most interesting here on the Mendeley Blog, featuring speakers from across all Pint of Science themes. You can follow along on our blog under the tag PintofScience17 or on Twitter under the hashtag #pint17.

You can book tickets to hear Ilan live in London on 15 May or follow him on Twitter @IlanKelman.

 

Saving lives in earthquakes

How many deaths have been caused by earthquakes throughout history? Tens of millions? Millions? Hundreds of thousands? The answer, perhaps, is close to zero.

This response sounds odd. We remember Haiti’s devastation in 2010. Christchurch, New Zealand has not recovered from 2011. Italy, too frequently, has been in the news as rescuers go in after tremors and, sadly, sometimes come out without success. It seems disrespectful to those who died and to those who survived to claim that the earthquakes did not cause the deaths.

Let’s examine more closely what happened during these quakes. Haiti was known to be seismically active. Buildings, from dwellings for the poor to hotels, collapsed due to shoddy construction. Nearly two-thirds of the 185 Christchurch deaths occurred in one badly designed building. Despite Italy’s long history of fatal earthquakes, many structures are not retrofitted.

As many earthquake engineers’ business cards read: Earthquakes don’t kill people; collapsing buildings do.

We know how to design and build all types of structures—bridges, homes, apartments, schools, hospitals, and office blocks—to withstand earthquakes. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t.

Corruption, design, and history

On 11 March 2011, a massive, shallow earthquake off Japan’s east coast sent high-rises swaying hundreds of kilometres away in Tokyo and rocked nuclear power plants. The earthquake’s damage was low thanks to exceptional engineering. The tsunami was another story, for both people killed and Fukushima.

We can choose how nature’s forces affect us. Too often, others make the choice for those affected by increasing their vulnerability.

Haiti achieved independence in 1804. Foreign interference marked the two centuries which followed. France demanded post-independence reparations, wrecking Haiti’s economy. The US occupied the country from 1915-1934. A father-son team of externally supported brutal dictatorships dominated after WWII. The Haitian people barely had an opportunity to control their own affairs, including building codes and seismic resistance.

The 2010 earthquake shattered a country wracked by two hundred years of poverty, exploitation, oppression, and underdevelopment. It took this long to create the overpopulated slums and the swathes of poorly engineered or non-engineered structures which crumbled in less than a minute of shaking. Haiti being the poorest country in the Western hemisphere was the cause of death of over 250,000 people, not the tremors.

Around the world, causes of earthquake deaths are shown to be corruption, lack of planning and building regulations, poor monitoring and enforcement of existing rules, inadequate construction, siphoning of funds, exploitation by an élite, and poverty creation. Seismicity is low down on the list of factors correlated with earthquake fatalities.

Seismicity is also the easiest factor to address. Our understanding of earthquakes and engineering is far enough advanced to know how to design and maintain infrastructure to withstand earthquakes. Our understanding of how to ensure that we implement adequate design and maintenance remains woefully lacking.

So people will continue to die in earthquakes. These deaths are caused by human, not natural, factors. The challenge is not about dealing with the earth shaking, but with ourselves.

Further reading:

 

Photo caption:

  • NZ: A base isolator for seismic design at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington (photo: Ilan Kelman).

Conservation at the Bristol Zoo: A Pint of Science preview

African penguins (Spheniscus demersus)

Going to the zoo was always a treat as a kid — and still is for many of us adults! But beyond seeing cute critters is some serious research and conservation work. Dr. Alison Cotton, a lecturer in conservation science at The Bristol Zoo, talks about how this West Country’s zoo has major global impact.

Dr. Alison Cotton

Mendeley is proud to be partnering with Pint of Science for the third year running.

As an introduction to the great talks on offer we’re going to be previewing some of the most interesting here on the Mendeley Blog, featuring speakers from across all Pint of Science themes. You can follow along on our blog under the tag PintofScience17 or on Twitter under the hashtag #pint17.

You can book tickets to hear Alison live in Bristol on 16 May or follow her other talks on Speakezee.

 

Bristol Zoo: A Conservation Tale

As many of you walk past the lemurs or the penguins at Bristol Zoo, what you might not be aware of, is that a team of scientists are working behind the scenes to help conserve these amazing species, and many more besides. This is a very important element of the zoo’s mission, but many people are unaware of the conservation work that occurs beyond the animals on view at the zoo.

We have a great team that work on native species conservation, including those that work at the Avon Gorge and Downs, which is home to over 30 rare plants including many species endemic to the gorge, as well as bats, nesting peregrine falcons and Kashmir goats. Since the education programme for the Avon Gorge and Downs project started in 2001, almost 100,000 people have engaged with local Bristol wildlife on their doorstep. There is also a huge effort being undertaken to help protect the native white-clawed crayfish throughout the South West, as well as a team dedicated to tackling the spectre of invasive weeds, such as Himalayan balsam, in the Bristol area. Internationally, we work across the globe, in countries such as South Africa, Madagascar, Cameroon, Tanzania, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, The Comoros Islands and The Philippines.

The Penguin’s Progress

My work is in South Africa, where the charismatic African penguin has undergone a dramatic population decline of over 70% in the last 17 years, as overfishing and climate change have decimated the fish stocks on which they rely. Our work to date has focussed on supporting our partner organisation in Cape Town, SANCCOB, who rescue, rehabilitate and release penguin chicks, as part of our Chick Bolstering Project, that have been abandoned by parents that are in too poor condition to care for them (as a result of depleted fish stocks), as well as penguins caught in oil spills.

Giving these chicks a head start in life has been hugely successful, and the survival rates of released chicks have been shown to mirror those of parent-reared chicks. In addition, we are heavily involved in research work, including investigating the effect of temporary fishing bans around colonies near Cape Town, monitoring penguin populations on Robben Island and investigating options for the translocation of individuals into new colonies in regions where there are more substantial fish stocks. There is so much work to be done to fully understand this catastrophic decline in penguin numbers, and there is much more than we will be doing in the future, so watch this space!

Like lemurs for chocolate

Golden-crowned sifaka (Propithecus tattersalli)

In Madagascar, the biodiversity situation is dire, with between 80-90% of forests having already been lost to slash and burn agriculture, and with 94% of all lemur species, the charismatic and emblematic primates that are endemic to Madagascar, already threatened with extinction. The human population is very poor, with 92% of Malagasy people surviving on less than US$2 a day. Chocolate and vanilla are both important exports for Madagascar, and much effort is being done to encourage sustainable, under-canopy production methods that minimise negative effects on habitats and biodiversity.

Our team are in the field evaluating the biodiversity impact of different production methods in both cacao (chocolate) and vanilla crops. This will provide a scientific basis to move forward with those practices that promote biodiversity. In addition to this, we are heavily involved in long-term lemur and sacred ibis conservation projects, and reforestation efforts in Madagascar.

It is vitally important that zoos are more than just a source of public entertainment. We are committed to addressing the conservation issues that threatened species face, both in terms of captive breeding of threatened species, but also through our efforts to conserve species in situ, in their natural habitats. With your support, we are doing our best to maintain as much biodiversity as possible on this amazing planet.

Mendeley Brainstorm – The Future of Energy

Britain stopped using coal for a day; will a day come when it is no longer used?

On the 21st of April, Great Britain experienced its first day without burning any coal since the 19th century. According to the National Grid, the energy was provided by natural gas, followed by nuclear and renewables. Given this example, what will our future energy mix look like? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes June 14, 2017.

Making a Fossil of a Fuel

Coal powered the industrial revolution in Great Britain. However, as of the 21st of April, it was clear that the country is no longer dependent upon this once ubiquitous fuel. Britain’s energy on April 21, in descending order, came from natural gas, nuclear, wind, biomass and solar.

Back to the Past?

Not everyone is so keen on this development. In March, US President Donald Trump lifted a temporary ban on coal leases; his popularity in states like West Virginia was based on the promise to bring coal mines back into operation.

Powering the Future

However, the continued use of fossil fuels has a significant environmental cost. The World Health Organisation estimated in 2012 that up to 7 million deaths in that year were attributable to air pollution. Additionally, most climate scientists state that burning fossil fuels is wreaking havoc with the Earth’s climate.

What Next?

Given that Britain has shown that we can stop using at least one fossil fuel, what’s next? What will be the energy source of the future? Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.

References

Fears, D. (2017). Donald Trump promises to bring back coal jobs but experts disagree. The Independent. [online] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-coal-mining-jobs-promise-experts-disagree-executive-order-a7656486.html [Accessed 8 May 2017].

Golson, J. (2017). Britain goes a day without coal-fired power for first time since the 1880s. The Verge. [online] Available at: https://www.theverge.com/2017/4/23/15395754/coal-great-britain-electricity-power-plant [Accessed 8 May 2017].

Mendeley Brainstorm – Send in the Clones – We Have a Winner!

Is cloning going to be part of our future?

Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to Cloning; picking a winner was problematic, however in the end, we selected Preston Whisenant’s post:

Genetic engineering has been happening, is happening, and will continue to happen regardless of how people feel about it. Science won’t stop, and shouldn’t stop, it’s exploration into genetics and its quest to save humanity from unspeakable, terrible, genetic diseases and complications simply because some people are against it! Even if banned, genetic research would still take place, it would simply take place with less oversight, less well-meaning intentions, and less sophistication (Kurzgesagt, 2016).

Health is the top priority; it is unethical to stop research that could save people from unnecessary complications and lifetimes of suffering! Kant, a philosopher, maintains that it is not only the action, but the intention of the action that determines virtue (Kant, 1785). To therefore deny people freedom from such suffering simply because one’s ‘value system’ makes one uncomfortable when considering it may not be malicious, but it is sheer ignorance and it is cruel!

We asked Preston what inspired him, He wrote:

I was particularly interested in the sociological and ethical implications of the development or lack thereof of this technology and how it should be utilized. I wonder then, if that technology had existed earlier if it could’ve been utilized to spare many from all kinds of problems and inconveniences caused by genetics.

Thank you, Preston!

Those who didn’t win this time are encouraged to respond to the latest Mendeley Brainstorm, regarding The End of Driving. Thanks again to all our participants.

Borrowing parts from Nature: A Pint of Science preview post

It is fairly hard to improve upon Nature’s designs. But Pint of Science speaker Adam Wollman is trying. His research combines biology and technology to learn how nature designs it’s molecules and figure how we can learn from and harness it’s perfect design.

Mendeley is proud to be partnering with Pint of Science for the third year running. 

As an introduction to the great talks on offer we’re going to be previewing some of the most interesting here on the Mendeley Blog, featuring speakers from across all Pint of Science themes. You can follow along on our blog under the tag PintofScience17 or on Twitter under the hashtag #pint17.

You can book tickets to hear Adam live in York on 17 May or follow him on Twitter @a_wollman.

(YouTube video caption:  “The nanoscale railway in action. Microtubules in red. Cargo in green.”)

Nanotechnology: Borrowing parts from nature

Nature is very good at building complex things. Plants and animals grow from tiny single cells containing all the information needed to build the organism encoded in DNA.

In contrast, humans need vast factories and machines to build anything near as complex. But to build like nature requires knowledge of biological processes which aren’t fully understood. My research work is split between investigating basic biological processes and using what has been learned to try to build things.

Interrogating biology

I investigate biology using advanced optical microscopes, capable of observing individual molecules at work inside living cells. These microscopes exploit fluorescence where certain molecules called fluorophores emit longer wavelength light when excited by a shorter wavelength. By filtering out the excitation light and only observing light emitted by fluorophores, a very high signal to noise ratio is achieved. Using very sensitive high speed cameras and high intensity lasers, single molecules of fluorophore can be observed.

Most biological processes in cells are driven by proteins, so to observe them, they must be replaced with fluorescent copies. This is done directly at the genetic level, replacing the gene for a protein of interest with a functional fluorescent copy. I’ve used this technique to observe lots different biological processes including DNA replication, cell division and photosynthesis.

Learning to build like nature

The cells in our body are made sturdy through a structure called the cytoskeleton, which is as it sounds: a molecular skeleton inside each cell. It expands out from the nucleus to the edges of the cell in a dense network.

But the cytoskeleton has another role, it also serves as a kind of railway, allowing other protein transporters called motor proteins to transport cargo around the cell. Inspired by this, I tried to employ the same design ideas to build my own nanoscale railway. I extracted motor proteins from cells, as well as the cytoskeleton tracks, called microtubules. To control everything, I borrowed another component from the cell, DNA, using the information carrying capabilities of DNA to instruct the motor proteins. Some of them became assemblers, putting the tracks together into a star shaped network called an aster. Others became shuttles, carrying cargo or other DNA signals into the centre of the aster.

The nano-railway could be used to gather components to speed up chemical reactions or help detect very dilute analytes in a biosensor.