Audio

How technology can help solve science’s reproducibility crisis

Podcast: Working Scientist (LS 30 · TOP 10% what is this?)
Episode: How technology can help solve science’s reproducibility crisis
Pub date: 2019-04-26

Machine learning and data management skills can raise your scientific profile and open up career opportunities, Julie Gould discovers.

As a biomedical science student, Jake Schofield felt frustrated at the length of time it took to repeat experiments, record results and manage protocols, with most of the work paper-based.

In 2016 he and Jan Domanski, a biochemist with programming skills, launched Labstep, an online platform to help scientists record and reproduce experiments.

Schofield, now Labstep’s CEO, tells Julie Gould how launching a start-up and seeking investor funding has honed his business skills.

“Every step we’ve taken has been a huge learning experience,” he says. “I wish there were more opportunities for scientists to try entreprenurial pursits. Scientific analytical problem-based thinking has so many parallels in the start-up world.”

Brian MacNamee, a computer scientist at University College Dublin, outlines the high value of data and its potential to solve science’s reproducibility crisis, citing large sky-scanning telescope projects as an example.

“These projects are generating colossal amounts of data scanning large portions of the sky and that data needs to be categorised,” he says. “Astrophysicists want to go to large data collections and look for the bits they are interested in. It’s impossible to do that by hand. You need to put machine learning systems into those pipelines to categorise and compare data.

“Other researchers are not reading a paper and trying to figure out where the gremlins are inside a data set. They can open the dataset up and find it themselves.”

 


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Audio

Diversity and Academic Success

Podcast: Vanderbilt Beyond the Lab podcast (LS 29 · TOP 10% what is this?)
Episode: Diversity and Academic Success
Pub date: 2021-02-11

Dr. D’Anne Duncan is currently the Assistant Dean of Diversity and Learner Success at the University of California San Francisco Graduate Division. Dr. Duncan is a postdoctoral alumna of Vanderbilt and tells us about her interesting path now working with graduate students.

The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Vanderbilt University, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.

Audio

126: The division of scientific labor (with Saloni Dattani)

Podcast: Everything Hertz (LS 42 · TOP 2% what is this?)
Episode: 126: The division of scientific labor (with Saloni Dattani)
Pub date: 2021-02-15

We have a wide-ranging chat with Saloni Dattani (Kings College London and University of Hong Kong) about the benefits of dividing scientific labor, the magazine she co-founded (Works in Progress) that shares novel ideas and stories of progress, and fighting online misinformation

Here are some links and other stuff we cover

  • Follow Saloni on Twitter: https://twitter.com/salonium
  • Why Saloni started the Works in Progress magazine
  • [Overleaf](overleaf.com), for writing papers in LaTeX
  • How science will benefit from the division of labour
  • Public writing vs. scientific writing
  • Why has behavioral science not been very useful in curbing the pandemic?
  • A paper suggested a link between digit ratio (2D:4D) and sex differences in COVID fatalities, and another paper debunking this claim
  • A paper suggesting baldness is a coronavirus risk factor, without controlling for age
  • Should peer-review be abolished altogether? Paper link
  • The Japanese mathematician who solved an “impossible” conjecture and posted the papers on his website
  • Reforms are more likely by work by chipping away at smaller problems, rather trying to fix everyting
  • Google dataset search https://datasetsearch.research.google.com/
  • The COVIDfaq.co website

Other links

Music credits: [Lee Rosevere](freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/)


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Episode citation

Quintana, D.S., Heathers, J.A.J. (Hosts). (2021, February 15) “126: The division of scientific labor (with Saloni Dattani)”, Everything Hertz [Audio podcast], DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/VJA4S

Special Guest: Saloni Dattani.

Support Everything Hertz

The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Dan Quintana, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.

Audio

Episode 39: The What-if Chemist

Podcast: Voices from DARPA (LS 42 · TOP 2% what is this?)
Episode: Episode 39: The What-if Chemist
Pub date: 2021-02-02

 

In this episode of the Voices from DARPA podcast, Seth Cohen, a program manager since 2019 in the agency’s Biological Technologies Office, takes listeners on a scientific journey that began with childhood fossil-hunting forays with his biology-teacher dad and is unfolding now in his oversight of three ambitious programs that center on some of humanity’s most pressing needs. Two of these take on the relentlessly evolving public-health threats that viral and bacterial pathogens pose. Another program is immersed in the challenge of the increasing scarcity of potable water. If Seth has it his way, these programs will deliver 1) a new strategy for fighting viral infections; 2) a powerful anti-bacterial framework that will recruit our bodies’ home-made, protective molecular means to stave off the emerging public-health catastrophe of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections; and 3) technologies for extracting water from the atmosphere in regions where water is scarce. Seth also shares his government-service experiences by which he has come to know the value of science policy in moving society toward badly-needed solutions. He finishes his story with a pitch to graduate students and others in the innovation ecosystems to embrace exciting and consequential roles in the government R&D landscape that they might not know about, including ones at DARPA. Says Seth in support of that advice, “DARPA has been…one of the best places I could ever imagine working.” When he is not uncovering new marvels of cellular chemistry or opening pathways to new technologies, Seth, a fan and amateur historian of muscle cars, just might be seen tooling around in his 1963 Corvette Stingray convertible.

 

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Audio

Stories of COVID-19: Clarity, Part 2

Podcast: The Story Collider (LS 58 · TOP 0.5% what is this?)
Episode: Stories of COVID-19: Clarity, Part 2
Pub date: 2021-01-25

In part 2 of Clarity, we’re sharing two more stories about the ways the pandemic has brought our lives into sharper focus.

In our first story, comedian Freddy G realizes just how much he relies on his wife’s support when she gets stuck in another state due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our second story is from Trey Kay, host and producer of the Us & Them podcast. In his story, Trey navigates the contrasting pandemic responses in his home of New York and his home state of West Virginia. As always, find photos and transcripts of all of our stories on our website.

Stay tuned for our final episode of the Stories of COVID-19 series, airing on Friday and Monday!

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Erin Barker, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.

Audio

Kristian Lum | Applying Statistics to Promote Fairness and Transparency

Podcast: Women in Data Science (LS 39 · TOP 2.5% what is this?)
Episode: Kristian Lum | Applying Statistics to Promote Fairness and Transparency
Pub date: 2021-02-09

Kristian’s interest in statistics and algorithmic fairness has taken her on a winding career path from academia to business, to public service, and back to academia. As she has made different career changes, she didn’t decide between academia vs. industry vs. non-profit, it was more about the problem she was interested in working on at the moment, and what else is happening in her life. 

After she earned her PhD in Statistical Science from Duke University, she worked as a research professor at Virginia Tech where she did microsimulation and agent-based modelingin a simulation lab. After that, she tried a data visualization and analytics startup called DataPad that was quickly acquired. When she was thinking about her next step in her career, she wanted to do something with social impact.

She was fascinated by the work of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) that was applying statistical models to casualty data to estimate the number of undocumented conflict casualties. She spent a summer working for HRDAG in Colombia and then decided to join the organization full time. She spent five years as HRDAG’s lead statistician leading the group’s project on criminal justice in the United States focused on algorithmic fairness and predictive policing. Predictive policing uses algorithms to help the police decide where to deploy their resources based on crime statistics, so if you look at where crimes are most likely to occur, this is where you police more often. Kristian’s work showed that these algorithms could actually perpetuate historical over-policing and racial bias in minority communities. 

Early this year, she moved from HRDAG back to academia. She started her new position at the University of Pennsylvania in the Computer and Information Science Department on March 2 and a week later Penn closed down for COVID. Over this year, she has learned that she needs to adjust her expectations for herself, and not be so frustrated when she can’t get things done that maybe under normal circumstances she could. It’s not just working from home with her daughter nearby, it’s the stress of everything that’s going on, the additional mental fatigue of having to do all these risks calculations. This year has also made her appreciate the increasingly critical role of data science in driving data-driven decision making.

RELATED LINKS
Connect with Kristian Lum on LinkedIN and Twitter
Learn more about Penn Engineering
Learn more about HRDAG
Connect with Margot Gerritsen on Twitter (@margootjeg) and LinkedIn
Find out more about Margot on her Stanford Profile

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Audio

Community Building Activities

Podcast: Teaching in Higher Ed (LS 52 · TOP 0.5% what is this?)
Episode: Community Building Activities
Pub date: 2021-02-18

Maha Bali, Autumm Caines, and Mia Zamora share about community building activities on episode 349 of the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast.

Quotes from the episode

Community is more than just a gathering of people in a room. It is a sense of caring about one another and for something.

It is not enough to tell students I want to listen to you. You have to build the trust so they will talk to you and be candid with you.
-Maha Bali

Community is more than just a gathering of people in a room. It is a sense of caring about one another and for something.
-Autumm Caines

It is something really powerful when we learn together in community.
-Autumm Caines

You can’t insist upon trust. It has to be something that emerges from moments.
-Mia Zamora

Audio

How the academic paper is evolving in the 21st century

Podcast: Working Scientist (LS 30 · TOP 10% what is this?)
Episode: How the academic paper is evolving in the 21st century
Pub date: 2020-03-05

Adam Levy delves into the article of the future, examining the rise of lay summaries, the pros and cons of preprint servers, and how peer review is being crowd-sourced and opened up.

Manuscripts are mutating. These changes range from different approaches to peer-review, to reformatting the structure of the paper itself.

Pippa Whitehouse, an Antarctica researcher at Durham University, UK, commends small changes to the paper’s summary over the last few years, telling Adam Levy: “Often now there’s a short layman’s review of the work. I find those really useful in subjects slightly outside my field.

“I see a title that looks useful and don’t quite understand the language in the technical abstract, but sometimes the lay abstract can give me just enough insight into the study.”

Sarvenaz Sarabipour, a systems biologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, praised preprint servers from an early career researcher perspective in a February 2019 article published in PloS Biology.

She tells Levy: “It’s very beneficial for researchers to deposit their work immediately, because journals are not able to do that. Preprinting is decoupling dissemination from the peer-review process. It’s wonderful to have it published earlier.

“The peer review process is inhibitory to dissemination but of course has added value.

“As a very early career researcher you don’t have many papers, so it’s wonderful to have something out quicker and be able to discuss

that with colleagues and more senior researchers.

“Researchers can notice each others’ work quicker. They contact each other if they have something similar and they may start collaborating.”

But catalyst researcher Ben List, managing director at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in Mülheim, Germany, sounds a note of caution about preprints.

“In my field of chemical synthesis it’s a bit risky,” he tells Levy. “It’s a different thing in physics or biology where experiments take a long time. In chemistry you see something and within a few days you can actually reproduce this work. I’m not 100% sure if this is the future of publishing, in chemistry at least.”

List is editor-in-chief of organic chemistry journal Synlett. Its approach to peer-review involves e-mailing a paper to a panel of up to 70 reviewers. This “crowd-reviewing” system is both quicker and more collaborative, he argues, and the size of the panel reduces the risk of bias.

 


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