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Michael Bay’s CES Fail: Why Communication Strategies Can Make or Break You

Michael Bay’s CES Fail: Why Communication Strategies Can Make or Break You | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
What went wrong with Michael Bay's CES fail from a communications perspective and what we can learn about presentations and delivery.
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Why Communication Strategies Can Make or Break You
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Governments Worldwide Pressure Google for More User Information - Fox Business

Governments Worldwide Pressure Google for More User Information - Fox Business | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Governments Worldwide Pressure Google for More User Information Fox Business Google Inc (GOOGL) said it was facing increasing pressure from governments around the world to reveal user information in criminal investigations amid ongoing revelations...
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Knowledge Sharing Tools and Methods Toolkit - S...

"Social network analysis is the mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organisations, computers or other information/knowledge processing entities." (Valdis Krebs, 2002).
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Why use citations in academic papers?

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Why use citations in academic papers?

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India missing in top 200 global varsity in the new QS rankings - Economic Times

India missing in top 200 global varsity in the new QS rankings - Economic Times | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Economic Times India missing in top 200 global varsity in the new QS rankings Economic Times Parameters where Indian universities are weak in comparison to global peers are quantity and quality of research (as represented by number of papers and...
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(EN) - Medical and Clinical Research Glossary | nursegroups.com

(EN) - Medical and Clinical Research Glossary | nursegroups.com | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it

"Our medical and clinical research glossary for nurses and nursing students."


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Crowdfunding is all the rage, but can it work for medical research?

Crowdfunding is all the rage, but can it work for medical research? | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it

"Our goal is absolutely to democratize knowledge," says Denny Luan. "Modern science has such a rush for fast results - publish or perish, output over process. We'd like to show the greater public that science does not have to be locked up behind monasterial walls. We'd like to change the way science is shared - in an engaging, deliberately beautiful way. Real-time, open-access and with great design."

Luan is co-founder of what, until this morning, was known as "Microryza" - the site has been renamed "Experiment" as part of a revamped branding strategy - a potentially revolutionary crowdfunding platform that is looking to do for science whatKickstarter has done for the entertainment industry.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of crowdfunding, what sites such as Experiment and Kickstarter offer is an alternative method of funding creative or academic projects through the internet.

In Kickstarter terms, this could mean that if you had songs for an album you wanted to record or a script for a film you would like to see made, you could use the Kickstarter site to advertise the project and invite interested parties to contribute - usually small-scale - donations in order to finance the project.

Crowdfunding has been a source of finance for human rights campaigns, as well as resurrecting cult network-cancelled TV shows (such as the forthcoming Veronica Mars movie) or financing the output of industry-disaffected musicians like Amanda Palmer.

Experiment aspires to harness the enthusiasm around these crowdfunded projects for scientific research.


The idea behind Experiment is that - rather than rely on a small resource pool of institutional grants or philanthropy - scientists will now be able to fund their own projects using donations from interested lay people.

The idea is that - rather than rely on a small resource pool of institutional grants or philanthropy - scientists will now be able to fund their own projects using donations from interested lay people. This might include people who have a disease that a scientist is proposing to investigate a cure for, or enthusiasts of a particular area of research.

But funding a piece of scientific research is not analogous to recording an album or shooting a film.

The challenge Luan and his colleagues face is not only to make funding scientific research as compelling to an audience of potential financiers as the glamorous worlds of film and music, but also to maintain a social media-type platform that sustains interests in these projects as they are completed and move through the various stages of development.

"In order to have a successful crowdfunding campaign, it is necessary to wear a 'marketing hat,'" admits Amy Belfi, a PhD student and musician whose "Can music improve memories in patients with brain damage?"study was successfully crowdfunded.

"Promoting your research is very important in science, so the main difference here is the audience. Typically, you are 'marketing' your research to grant reviewers, whereas in crowdfunding, you are marketing your research to the public."

How does scientific crowdfunding differ from crowdfunding creative projects?

Although mainstream crowdfunding hubs Kickstarter and Indiegogo have had some limited success with financing science projects, Luan believes a separate platform is necessary for scientific research.

Microryza/Experiment's scientific crowdfunding competitor, petridish.org, meanwhile, now seems to be inactive - with no updates appearing via their Twitter since 2012.

"Kickstarter and Indiegogo were designed for creative artists, and because of that, it's worked well for the creative process," says Luan.

"However, scientific research usually follows a different process, where the output is not typically a tangible reward like a T-shirt or mug. We prefer instead to focus on the scientific process itself, both making it easier for researchers to be transparent about it and for backers to be engaged with what is happening with the science."

He adds: "To see this in action, I encourage you to back a project for yourself!"

Perhaps crucially, Luan and co-founder Cindy Wu are young scientists themselves - former University of Washington graduate students - who arrived at Microryza in 2012 as a solution for funding their own projects.

After polling their professors, they found that everyone was frustrated with the obstacles associated with the highly competitive funding process - where 80% of proposals are rejected, the average researcher spends 12 weeks a year writing proposals, and the average age of a grant recipient in biomedicine is 42.

Can crowdfunding transform scientific research?

In theory, crowdfunding could be a viable model for drumming up funding and media attention for small, early stage ideas and high-risk proposals that the current grant systems - offered by institutions such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Framework (NSF) - are reluctant to invest in.

"Yes, absolutely," Luan agrees, although he sees the potential for crowdfunding to have a much bigger and more transformative impact on research.

"That was the original pitch for value for scientists of all types and backgrounds. However, these days, the situation has become so dire that projects and grants that NIH or NSF would fund are no longer getting the backing they deserve.

So we're basically picking up a lot of slack and devastation caused by the sequester and budget cuts. NIH paylines and acceptance rates are at historic lows. As in, over the entire history of federally funded science."

However, there is a long way to go before crowdfunding can match the scale of traditionally funded medical research.

The Prion Alliance

"Crowdfunding for science is great, but it's fundamentally of a different scale than grant funding or large-scale philanthropy," admits Sonia Vallabh, who - as one half of the husband-and-wife Prion Alliance research project - is Microryza/Experiment's most high-profile success story to date.

"Our campaign, which raised $17,000, is one of the larger donation-based scientific crowdfunding campaigns to be successfully funded," Vallabh says.

"Projects of a larger order of magnitude have been tied to a product. It is a different animal. It's nowhere close to replacing those two traditional funding sources, and though its influence could grow and I hope it does, the existence of crowdfunding definitely shouldn't take our eye off the ball of the NIH budget."

"For us, crowdfunding is a useful and relatively quick way to fund small, catalytic experiments. But let there be no doubt: the money we've been able to raise, while wonderful, is not keeping the lights on, nor developing disease models from scratch, nor paying anyone's health benefits. Grants do that."

Vallabh says that the Prion Alliance will use crowdfunding for future projects, though their intention is to use these "quick turnaround micro-grants" to fund the generation of preliminary data that their collaborators can then use as a platform to apply for "more sustained and robust funding."

Some critics have suggested that the nature of crowdfunding for scientific research means that only the most social media-friendly proposals will thrive.

For example, projects involving excavating a dinosaur and studying how to eliminate spam mail were both over-funded in donations, while a current proposal examining post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans has received just $10 in pledges, with only 6 days left to raise the remaining $11,990 target at the time of writing.


Crowdfunding could be a viable model for funding small, early stage ideas and high-risk proposals.

But the work by Vallabh and her husband Eric Minikel has genuinely inspired people - their story traveled beyond the enclave of social media-hip "science nerds" thought to comprise Microryza/Experiment's fan base and into high-profile pieces in The New Yorker.

Diagnosed as carrying a rare mutated gene that causes "fatal familial insomnia" (FFI) - a prion disease affecting just one in a million people, where death usually follows shortly after symptoms are detected - Vallabh and Minikel took the matter of finding a cure to this little-researched condition into their own hands.

Although neither of them had a background in science, following the sudden death of Vallabh's mother from FFI in 2010, both Vallabh and Minikel devoted their lives to learning how to analyze genetic code - putting themselves back through school at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and volunteering in neurogenetics labs.

An initial request via Microryza for just $8,000 to fund trials on a potential treatment in mice was met with an enthusiastic and sympathetic response. The couple raised 215% of their target fund, which can also now finance subsequent research phases.

We asked Sonia if she felt crowdfunding had jump-started initial research into a cure for her condition in a way that would not be possible traditionally, given the couple's lack of scientific experience.

"While we are working towards grant eligibility in our day jobs as scientists, we were definitely excited about crowdfunding as a way to get small projects off the ground on a shorter timeline," she says.

"The process of ramping up our own credentials will take time, on top of which the grant cycle is both slow and low-yield. As a non-traditional funding model, Microryza definitely provided a forum more conducive to us sharing our story and personal motivations, as well as our scientific plan and collaborators."

Accountability, credibility and transparency

Although all proposals are currently vetted by Luan and his colleagues for both scientific credibility and to ensure the researchers are who they claim to be, the next step for Microryza/Experiment to secure credibility within the scientific community will be in implementing a rigorous peer review process to assure project backers that reported results are accurate and evidence based.


Anonymous donations may present issues with ethics and transparency.

"We've been testing peer review tools internally," says Luan, "but our goal for the near future is to begin to open up the proposal evaluation process, as well as the micropublished content that researchers are already sharing on the site - datasets, protocols, results. We care very much in building a trusted and rigorous community for funders."

Another element inherent to crowdfunding that may need to be revised in Experiment's model going forward is the option the site provides for funders to remain anonymous. We asked Luan if this presents any ethical issues, as transparency in scientific funding is a contentious area.

"There are of course ethical issues with disclosing particular interests for funded research, and we realize this is a challenge," he admits. "However, we do believe strongly in 100% transparency, and we think that any potential ethical issues can be mitigated with fuller transparency and trust policies."

He adds: "Also, in our minds, this is a good problem to face, because it means our system is working."

With revised branding in place and, as this piece went to press, a new partnership announced with SciFund Challenge that has unveiled more than 30 new proposals, Experiment - who support themselves by taking a 5% cut of the money raised by successfully funded projects - looks set to go from strength to strength as a new tool for connecting scientific communities and potentially providing funding solutions.

Denny Luan and team, meanwhile, are not regretting diverting their promising careers in research into launching an internet start-up company:

"Ideally, my cofounders and I would like to return to grad school, but we've seen the light," he insists.

"Why would we willingly go back into a broken system - funding, peer review, collaboration, and translation of intellectual property - if we think we can make a positive impact on this system for other young scientists like ourselves?"



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Researchers create tool for studying social networks and health - Medical Xpress

Researchers create tool for studying social networks and health - Medical Xpress | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Researchers create tool for studying social networks and health
Medical Xpress
A team led by Penn State College of Medicine researchers has developed a tool to help scientists study the influence of social networks on health.

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Researcher develops, proves effectiveness of new drug for spinal muscular atrophy

Researcher develops, proves effectiveness of new drug for spinal muscular atrophy | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
According to recent studies, approximately one out of every 40 individuals in the United States is a carrier of the gene responsible for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neurodegenerative disease that causes muscles to weaken over time.
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Four British institutions ranked in top five of world’s universities | Hihid News

Four British institutions ranked in top five of world’s universities | Hihid News | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Improvements in research have seen Cambridge University and Imperial College London surpass Harvard University in the latest authoritative annual ranking of (Four British institutions ranked in #top five of world’s #universities: Improvements...
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Academic to study wasted medical research funding - ABC Online

Academic to study wasted medical research funding - ABC Online | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Academic to study wasted medical research funding
ABC Online
A Gold Coast academic says more than $100 billion in medical research funding is wasted worldwide every year.
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Medical Research Funding

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The Digital CFO: How Advances in Technology are Reshaping the Role of Finance

The Digital CFO: How Advances in Technology are Reshaping the Role of Finance | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
@davidaxson discusses the application of digital technologies in finance @cfo http://t.co/lNuMvya6oa
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Research repositories

Research repositories | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
eSocSci connects social scientists in New Zealand across disciplines, sectors, universities and other institutions.
Connecting social science knowledge will enhance the robustness of research and seed future innovations.
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How academic research strengthens humanitarian ventures

As we design technologies for commercialization in developing communities, how can we share the fruits of our labor with others? How can we build a strong kn...
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Writing Articles for LinkedIn | SNA - Social Ne...

Writing Articles for LinkedIn | SNA - Social Ne... | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Many people use LinkedIn’s publishing feature to promote their business and services, but there are very few people who are termed as LinkedIn influencers.
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Finding Articles for Academic Papers Part 1

How to find peer reviewed articles for use in academic papers. How to search, what to look for, and how to find more. Watch in 720p or better to see what I'm...
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Less than 60% of university news releases link to the papers they cover - Risk Science Center

Less than 60% of university news releases link to the papers they cover - Risk Science Center | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Risk Science Center Less than 60% of university news releases link to the papers they cover Risk Science Center I've long been frustrated by news releases from academic institutions that highlight ground breaking and transformative research, and...
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What is an Academic Paper?

What is an academic paper? A paper is an academic work that is usually published in an academic journal after peer review. It contains original research resu...
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The journey of medical research

Behind every pill there is an exciting and complex journey driven by the hope, determination and hard work of scientists. Many important but challenging choi...
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Curbing bias in medical research - KevinMD.com

Curbing bias in medical research - KevinMD.com | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
All too often, research findings aren't as scientific as they should be. And some are flat-out biased.
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Leading scientists cautious about $20bn medical research future fund

Leading scientists cautious about $20bn medical research future fund | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Acclaimed medical researchers, cited by the government as potential beneficiaries, say research fund needs to be rethought.
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Our Research Funding Opportunities for 2015 are now OPEN!

Our Research Funding Opportunities for 2015 are now OPEN! | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Get all the details! Deadline is November 21st, 2014, 5:00 PM MST. (RT @FireScienceGOV: Research Funding Opportunities 2015 Now OPEN!
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Majority of research funding goes to minority of institutions

Majority of research funding goes to minority of institutions | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
71 per cent went to 31 universities because of ‘narrowed’ definitions of excellence, claims report (Majority of research funding goes to minority of institutions http://t.co/wbpkQAbrjM via @timeshighered)...
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Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies: A Guide to New Theories, Methods, and Practices for Open Peer Teaching and Learning by The 21st Century Collective

Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies: A Guide to New Theories, Methods, and Practices for Open Peer Teaching and Learning by The 21st Century Collective | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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NGOs in Human Rights, Peace and Development Research Capacity-Building in Africa 21st Century Information Fluency 21st Century Libraries Academic Libraries and Scholarly Communities African Economy Agriculture, Youth and ICTs Alternative Library Spaces, Projects, Initiatives AtDotCom Social media Blended Librarianship Breaking World - African News Communication for Development (ComDev) Communications 4 Development Connectivism Content Curation for NGOs Creative teaching and learning Curation & The Future of Publishing Development, agriculture, hunger, malnutrition Digital Delights for Learners Digital Literacy - Education Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks E-Learning and Online Teaching E-Learning-Inclusivo (Mashup) Eclectic Technology Educommunication eLearning Industry Electronic Health Information Exchange Evaluation Digest Evidence-Based Education Evidence-based Practices in STEM Education Financial and consumer literacy Financial education and literacy Financial Information Industry Funding Opportunities in Programmes Supporting Projects & Research Future Trends in Libraries Geography Education Global Politics - Human Rights Global Press Freedom Higher education news for libraries and librarians Human rights Human Rights Issues: The Latest News ICT for Agricultural information use IFPRI Research Information and digital literacy in education via the digital path Information Economics Information Literacy - Education Information Literacy for Undergraduates Information Literacy in a Web2.0 World Information Literacy: Instruction & Assessment innovative libraries Intellectual Property Intellectual Property - Protection and Monetization Intellectual Property news, views and opinions International Aspects of Publishing, Intellectual Property and the Law International Development and Peace Law Librarian Learning Technology News libraries and education Library Web 2.0 skills Mobile workplace learning Networked Learning - MOOCs and more Online Collaboration Tools Plagiarism and Academic Integrity Prison and Libraries Private Law Librarians Promoting Our School Libraries Public Relations & Social Media Insight Research Development Rights & Liberties Rwanda Genocide Scholarly Communication Scholarly Communications School Libraries around the world School Library Advocacy Scoop.it Spotlight Security and Peacebuilding Weekly Self-organizing and Systems Mapping Social Media Publishing and Curation Social Media, Health Information and Education The 21st Century Transitional justice

 Field Notes for 21st Century Literacies: A Guide to New Theories, Methods, and Practices for Open Peer Teaching and Learning by The 21st Century Collective
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Essay on the art of peer reviewing and why it matters in academic careers - Inside Higher Ed

Essay on the art of peer reviewing and why it matters in academic careers - Inside Higher Ed | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Essay on the art of peer reviewing and why it matters in academic careers Inside Higher Ed Rarely are professionals in any field trained in how to perform a blind peer review, even though the activity is one of the foundations upon which knowledge...
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Essay on the art of peer reviewing and why it matters in academic careers - Inside Higher Ed

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Industry-sponsored academic research promotes innovation, study finds - Penn State News

Industry-sponsored academic research promotes innovation, study finds - Penn State News | Research Capacity-Building in Africa | Scoop.it
Industry-sponsored academic research promotes innovation, study finds
Penn State News
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
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