What the data say about border closures and COVID spread

This suggests that travel restrictions weren’t justified later in the pandemic except in highly connected countries, or in regions with low transmission that wanted to keep the virus out, says co-author Mark Jit, an infectious-disease modeller at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Preventing travel from high-prevalence countries would be sufficient to reduce exposure in many regions, says Jit.

“Countries shouldn’t instinctively say that, just because there is a pandemic, we should have travel restrictions.” Hoffman says that observational studies are now needed to tease out the effectiveness of countries completely shutting their borders. “There is a good chance that a whole lot of what we are doing is causing more harm than good.”

The complete article

Smriti Mallapaty – Nature

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Survey breaks down researcher openness by discipline

Mathematicians and social scientists are the most likely to disclose results with others before publication.

The team found that the tendency to disclose before publication was not associated with the scientists’ gender or age, but with the specific field they worked in. Factors such as competition for funding and commercial relevance of the research explained most of the differences in sharing attitudes. Mathematicians tend to disclose more before publication because they view themselves as being in a fairly non-competitive environment, says Jerry Thursby. By contrast, biomedical scientists perceive their field as competitive, and are less likely to disclose.

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Giorgia Guglielmi — Nature

Flexible working: Science in the gig economy


How is the gig economy going to affect scientific research?

There are lots of scientists in the wilderness — that point where you are tired of doing postdocs and you question what you’re doing. The gig economy can be one way to find a path, by providing an income stream while you figure stuff out. It can help you realize what marketable skills you have. It can give you time to mourn the loss of a job in academia that you thought you were going to have but that never really existed. And it helps to expand your network into places that would be interested in your skill set, such as the technology community. Eventually, you realize you can leave academia without leaving research.

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Roberta Kwok — Nature

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Full-time is full enough


This is yet another needull on how long you should spend at the workplace. This article specifically talks about the world of academia. While corporate people think life in academia is relatively easy, most likely it is a case of grass being greener on the other side.

Wenkel warns lab members that long hours can actually hamper their work. “Efficiency has a bell-shaped curve,” he says. “Once you’ve reached that maximum, things can start to fail because you aren’t as focused.” He says that he has sent clearly fatigued lab members home to rest. Duffy says that she’s personally experienced the phenomenon of diminishing returns. “At some point, you make enough errors that you would be better off not working,” she says.

The complete article

Chris Woolston — Nature

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