The 15-year old winner of the 2012 Intel Science & Engineering Fair, Jack Andraka of Maryland, said he relied on open-access articles to develop a five-minute, $3 test for pancreatic cancer. The project earned him first place and $75,000 in last year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Quoting Mr. Andraka, a Washington Post article noting the recent White House open access mandate for nearly all federally funded research reported: “I kept running into these paywalls where articles cost $30,” said Andraka. He then searched for similar, but freely available, information. “Open access was absolutely critical. I couldn’t have done my project without it.”
“After a close family friend died from pancreatic cancer, I turned to the Internet to help me understand more about this disease that had killed him so quickly. I was shocked to discover that the current way of detecting pancreatic cancer was older than my dad and wasn’t very sensitive or accurate. I figured there had to be a better way! I soon learned that many of the papers I was interested in reading were hidden behind expensive pay walls.”
Can any better case be made for open access publishing that this story? Open access really does make possible major scientific advances that can benefit all of humankind by anyone in the world, even a 15 year old high school student.
National map topographic data from the USGS are now available on mobile devices that are using the Android or iOS operating system.
Android and iPhone users can now use their mobile devices as digital topo maps, leveraging USGS maps together with the power of GPS to zoom in on their precise location while hiking, biking, running, or any other activity that benefits from precision navigation. The type of data that are available includes USGS imagery and topographic maps from The National Map, as well as road and contour layers.Currently, two Android applications are using USGS data, OruxMaps (http://www.oruxmaps.com/index_en.html) and AlpineQuest (http://alpinequest.psyberia.net/). These apps include USGS services in the list of available online maps.For users that may be navigating in an area that is outside of cell phone coverage, Mobile Atlas Creator (http://mobac.sourceforge.net/) is allowing users of this desktop application to build small “mobile atlases” with USGS data. These “mobile atlases” can be built over any area of interest at multiple scales, and when completed, the small file is moved to the phone. The “mobile atlases” enable GPS applications on both iPhone and Android mobile devices. By storing this small amount of data on the phone, these “mobile atlases” ensure the topographic data is available even when cell coverage is not.
Users of mobile devices can use USGS data on their GPS-enabled phones to track their adventure or workout. This capability is new, and promises to increase awareness and use of USGS data and services, as well as increase demand for US Topos.
Cold Spring Harbor Protocols is an interdisciplinary monthly journal of step-by-step research methods in cell, developmental and molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics, protein science, computational biology, immunology, neuroscience and imaging. All protocols are up-to-date and presented in a consistent, easy-to-follow format.
Protocols is fully searchable by keyword and subject, and has several novel features including subject categories (including but not limited to antibodies, DNA delivery/gene transfer, electrophoresis, High-throughput analysis, imaging/microscopy, kits, laboratory organisms, plant biology, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), RNA interference (RNAi)/siRNA, and stem cells) as well as a full listing of “recipes” for preparing solutions and biological reagents.
This announcement comes to you on the “Diamond Celebration” of the 60th Anniversary of one of biology’s greatest accomplishments. Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics is a new online database offered by the Wellcome Library in London. It provides a historical glimpse into the race to deduce the chemical structure of the DNA molecule. The crux of this resource is the April 25, 1953 landmark paper published by James Watson and Francis Crick in the journal, Nature, where they reported the chemical structure of DNA, a feat that stimulated a biological revolution that is still unfolding.
Codebreakers brings together more than one million photographs, sketches, notes, and essays related to the Watson & Crick investigation of DNA’s chemical structure. Future plans call for adding resources from 20 smaller collections, 650 digitized images and 500,000 additional pages of text. This $5.88 million dollar project is one of the world’s most comprehensive sources for a cross-disciplinary look at one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. Additional information is found at: http://wellcomelibrary.org/using-the-library/subject-guides/genetics/makers-of-modern-genetics.
Need to plug in your laptop or phone on the 2nd floor of Silverman Library?
It’s now easier than ever!
Additional power outlets were installed on the second floor of Silverman Library during Spring Break. Each study table in the area near the windows now has six power outlets, making it easy to connect laptops, phones and other electronic devices without having to rearrange tables and chairs in that area.
“The University Libraries are continuing to push ubiquitous power sources for electronic devices in a long-range effort to enhance the study spaces we offer,” says Ken Hood, Facilities, Space Planning and Safety Officer for the Libraries. “Over winter break, we converted space formerly occupied by microforms on Silverman 2 into user space; and over spring break, we added power outlets in that new study space. This is another step towards our goal.”
If you need to obtain digital topo maps, USGS has been developing a collection of current and older topos that are free to download. The April 9 release of new maps covering Texas and New York continues the US Topo revisions, updates and product improvement.
These maps complement the paper editions in the UB Map Collection and provide access to earlier editions of maps for the states (currently, the UB Map Collection holds only the latest editions of state topo quad maps, except for NY and PA; these two states we have all editions).
Last September, the USGS marked the important milestone of completing the initial round of US Topo map production for the 48 contiguous states. The agency is continuing to improve the US Topo map product, moving into the next round of national map revisions. Hawaii is currently in production and Alaska production will start later this year.
“The US Topo program is a dynamic product and the new maps for Texas and New York demonstrate our commitment to a very aggressive three year revision cycle while at the same time adding new content,” said Mike Cooley, the US Topo Project Manager. “I encourage you to take a look at these maps and drop us a comment on how we are doing via our drop box, as your input is important to us.”
Thanks to the UB Health Sciences Library, we are happy to announce the acquisition of a new science database, Springer Protocols. This reference database identifies and provides access to full-text content of an important component of the scientific and technical literature: laboratory protocols. Laboratory protocols are instructions for conducting specific tasks or experiments and focus on (authoritative) standard operating procedures and methods. Protocols give detailed, step-by-step instructions, lists of equipment and reagents and other resources needed to complete the task. In many instances, protocols also contain historical background information and derivations about the theories and hypotheses used, special tips and nuances, safety considerations, and references.
Springer Protocols is an inventory of more than 31,000 protocols in 15 broad subject categories, including cell biology, genetics and genomics, and infectious diseases, and includes a small and growing collection of video-procedures provided by the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). The UB Libraries also subscribes to the online version of Current Protocols, which provides easy, full-text access to thousands of basic and advanced research protocols in six categories of cell and molecular biology.
Users of the SciFinder database are alerted to the recent announcement from Springer Science & Business Media and the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) on their collaboration to link new experimental procedures for chemical reactions covered by both Springer’s journals and the CAS databases, including SciFinder. This collaboration will link procedures published in 165 of Springer’s chemistry journals to SciFinder bibliographic records.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will discontinue operation of up to 375 streamgages nationwide due to budget cuts as a result of sequestration. Additional streamgages may be affected if partners reduce their funding to support USGS streamgages. The USGS is working to identify which streamgages will be impacted and will post this information as it becomes available. Streamgages are used nationwide to predict and address drought and flood conditions by monitoring water availability. The USGS and over 850 federal, state, and local agencies cooperatively fund the USGS streamgaging network, which consists of over 8,000 streamgages. When budget fluctuations occur, the network is impacted.
Ever wonder whether there were any good open access journals in your field? The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), launched in 2003, now lists over 8,000 peer reviewed journals. Simply put, open access (OA) journals are freely available to all readers on the Internet and do not have subscription charges. Many studies show that OA articles are downloaded and cited more than equivalent articles locked behind subscription walls.
Using DOAJ, journal titles can be searched using keywords and browsed by subject areas. They just announced two important milestones:
1) More than 1 million articles are now searchable in DOAJ. They expect this figure to increase significantly in the months to come.
2) More than 50% of the journals are providing metadata at article level.