The Presidents and Presidents-Elect of the American Society of Mammalogists, the American Ornithological Society, and the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists published a letter of support for the Biological Survey Unit (BSU) of the United States Geologic Survey and expressing concern over the proposal to eliminate it in the 2018 budget. The BSU is housed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
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Robert Gropp, co-Executive Director of the American Institute for Biological Sciences, recently published an editorial in BioScience that not only argues for the maintenance of current biological collections, but emphasizes the importance of continuing to collect.
He goes on to announce, the future needs of natural-history collections, as well as their potential future uses in research and education, are among the issues being addressed by the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN), a National Science Foundation–funded research coordination network project. BCoN is in the process of organizing a workshop to be held later in 2018 to explore potential research opportunities arising from digitized collections. BCoN will solicit advice from the scientific community in the next few months about other issues that will shape future research opportunities associated with biodiversity collections. If you have ideas or wish to contribute to these discussions, please join the BCoN community at https://bcon.aibs.org.
User facilities - from research facilities housing specialized equipment, to repositories and field stations that house physical collections - and their government sponsors stand to benefit from improved acknowledgement of their use and a better understanding of the impact generated by work undertaken with their support.
Following this premise, ORCID and their User Facilities and Publications Working Group recently released a report on their investigation into how user facilities, publishers, and scholarly infrastructure providers can collaborate to streamline the sharing of information between researchers, user facilities, and publishers, to improve the capture of outputs from these facilities, and to lessen reporting burdens on researchers.
Following the very public request for assistance to save collections marked for removal from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, this Nature Editorial discuses how regional hubs may offer lifelines to natural history collections facing dire straits.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe is the most recent example of budget cuts leading to the divesting of collections. Several news outlets covered this announcement this week, Inside Higher Ed's story covers the original post and responses from the administration.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently placed its Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR) Program on hiatus.
A news article in Nature examined the need to protect scientific collections as essential resources for ongoing research across disciplines, from conservation work to disease prevention.
Growing alarm about the state of reproducibility in biomedical research has scientists and journal editors double-checking their work.
The Economist highlighted recent efforts to address reproducibility in both biomedical and psychology papers, including the Preclinical Reproducibility and Robustness Channel launched on February 4th to tackle the issue head-on
When public health officials become aware of the first signs of a disease outbreak, they need to determine a few critical things as quickly as possible. What’s the disease agent? How did it get here? How does it spread and how can it be contained? Has it been seen before? If so, what was the approach and how well did it work?
IWGSC member Diane DiEuliis and colleagues recently published an opinion piece on the roll of collections in infectious disease research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.