Nature to provide open access to articles using NOAT™ technology

LONDON UK.  In a ground-breaking move, the journal Nature is to make all future articles open access through their proprietary NOAT™ platform.

Publishers have been put under increasing pressure recently for publishing important science behind paywalls, ensuring that only the wealthy get to read journal articles that they publish.  This is made worse as often the research in question is funded by tax payers, who then can’t read papers about the research they funded.

“We decided that enough was enough” a spokesperson for Nature told TheScienceWeb. “We have developed a proprietary system called NOAT™ which will allow anyone to access Nature articles free of charge” they continued.

NOAT™, which stands for Novel Oral Aural Technique, involves someone with a full paid-for access subscription to Nature, actually picking up the telephone, dialling the number of someone without a subscription, and reading the contents of the paper to a person at the other end.

“With our new proprietary NOAT™ platform, we are opening up science to the masses, and enabling true open-access to science” the Nature spokesperson continued, without any hint of irony.

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90% of researchers sequencing things because they “can’t think of anything else to do”

Cambridge, MA.  90% of genomics researchers are sequencing things because they exist in a complete intellectual vacuum and can’t think of anything else to do, a recent survey suggests.

The survey asked the simple question: “If you are currently involved in a genome sequencing project, can you identify any real reasons why?”.  92% of the 10,000 scientists surveyed ticked “no”.  In the comments box beneath the question, respondents had written “if it moves, sequence it”, “I don’t understand the question” and “you could sequence an ant’s scrotum and Genome Research would publish it”.

Recent papers in genomics include those describing the genome of the cucumber, the genome of the centipede and the genome of the ferret.  Some have suggested that scientists are simply following the alphabet, but Arthur MacDaniel of the Wide Institute denies this: “Following the alphabet would imply that genomicists are following some kind of logic or rational; they’re not.  Their motto is ‘sequence first, think later’ but too often they only complete half of those tasks.  These guys are frothing at the mouth for DNA.  In fact, they’d sequence the froth and submit it to Nature if they could” Arthur continued.

In related news, in human medicine where genomics could actually make a real difference and cure disease, the society of doctors (SODs) have refused to adopt routine genome sequencing, issuing the following statement: “we didn’t think of it first, so **** you genomics!”

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Real science found to be contaminating microbiome studies

Birmingham, UK.  In a result that has shocked the entire field, researchers led by Dr Callum Porker at the University of Aberdeen have revealed that some microbiome studies are becoming contaminated with real science.

“For ages, microbiome research has been like a really bad B movie” said Dr Porker yesterday.  “You know, wild claims… alien bacteria that cause everyone to turn into zombies, people swimming in lakes who swallow algae and turn into cannibals, that type of thing” he continued.  “But increasingly we’re finding weird contamination in microbiome papers that looks actually real – like, you know, an actual real scientific result” he finished.

The paper, published today in BMC Couldn’t Get In To Genome Biology, has caused quite a stir, with many scientists jumping on the bandwagon, such as Dick Spotson at the University of Edinburgh.  “I’m really glad this is out now, I’ve been presenting these results as if they’re my own for some time” said Dr Spotson.

However, perhaps unsurprisingly, the results were not taken well by everyone.  “Who the hell do these guys think they are?”  said Gilbert Jack, Professor of Microbiomes at University of the Planet.  “If we wanted real science, we’d have done real science.  Microbiome doesn’t need facts or statistics or reality!  If people who work in our field want to say that soil bacteria cause cancer and algal viruses cause stupidity, they should be allowed to do so.  Get off my lawn!” he finished, red faced.


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Stupidity found in humans, slows brain activity

NEBRASKA.  For the first time, stupidity has been found in the brains of senior academics, slowing down their brain activity and making them publish absolute bollocks in high-impact journals.

“This is really big news” said James Van Halen, senior author on the study.  “No-one has ever found stupidity in the brains of academics before, it’s normally only found at the bottom of the social ladder.  We’re trying to figure out how it got there, because it’s really out of place” he continued.

Once stupidity had been found in the brains of academics, the hunt was on to find the effects of such an infection.  “We did some tests on a very small number of individuals, and once we’d thrown away the outliers that didn’t agree with our preconceived vision of what we’d find, there was a statistically significant effect” Van Halen said.  “What we found was that stupid academics were far more likely to publish absolute bollocks”.

To test for causality, stupidity was injected into mice by making them watch Jersey Shore continuously for 96 hours.  “The stupid mice, the ones who watched the show, couldn’t get out of a maze; they actually just stood next to a wall and repeatedly banged their head against it”.  Causality proven, the team began to get really worried about the health impacts of stupidity.

However, before we all become alarmed at this awful, emerging threat, Van Halen offers some hope.  “Luckily, we’ve found natural antibodies to stupidity right here in the academic community.  We found that a significant number of open scientists, those who submit to open access journals, those who publish pre-prints and those who engage in open review, you know, the PLOS hipster crowd; those guys all seem to have natural antibodies against stupidity” Van halen said excitedly.  “So, for those of us infected, there is hope!”

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No-one quite sure what the point is anymore, survey finds

London, UK. A recent survey of ten thousand UK scientists carried out by Imperial College Kings of London (ICKL) has found that no-one is quite sure why they bother.

“It’s just a huge pointless circle”, said Prof. Joan Jett, a senior group leader at ICKL and former glam rock star. “The first and only objective of any grant is to start writing the next grant. We publish a paper announcing the project, then we put out a press release, then we start writing the next grant application. We never do any actual science” she continued

“I thought the PI knew why we did it” continued Eddie Genetics, one of Jett’s PHD students.  “but when I asked her, she just stared at me for ten minutes then left the room. It was very uncomfortable”.

Jett picked up the thread again: “We thought the director of our institute might know, so we asked her ‘Why do we do this?’.  She said the point was to win money.  ‘But why?’ we asked.  ‘So we can publish papers’ she replied.  ‘About what?’ we insisted.  Sadly, she didn’t understand the question”

“We thought industry might help us” added Fay Ledscience, industry liaison officer at ICKL.  “We were sat in a meeting with one company and they said ‘Out of this £1m research grant, we contributed 50p, therefore we own all of the IP and your ideas.  Give them to us.  What are your ideas?’.   Our scientists just looked blank.  Finally, I had to explain to industry ‘No, that’s why you’re here – to give us ideas’.  They looked furious.  Finally, their accountant stood up, slammed his fist on the table and shouted ‘I told you this would happen!’ and stormed out” Fay continued, looking very worried.

Finally, a large group of senior researchers from ICKL approached Prof. Oldfart Lockheed, FRS, chief executive of the science funding council (SFC).  “We asked him what the point was” said Jett, spokesperson for the group.  “He said ‘You need to publish papers'; we said ‘Why?'; ‘So you can win grants'; we again asked ‘why?'; ‘So I can demonstrate impact'; ‘yes, but why?'; ‘So I can get more money from the government’ he replied”.

At this point Jett simply put her head in her hands and began sobbing quietly.

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BREAKING: NoSQL just “huge text file and grep”, study finds

BREAKING NEWS: a study by the institute for distributed investigation of technologies (IDIOT) has found that all NoSQL technologies are essentially just a massive text file combined with the UNIX tool ‘grep’

NoSQL has risen in popularity in recent years as a hipster alternative to relational databases.  Technology companies tend to move their entire data management system to a NoSQL backend, before moving it back to a relational database management system less than 12 months later.

“This is a huge shock!” said Dr Rick Slowman of the University of Birmingham.  “We’ve all written shitty scripts that grep huge files to link them together, but noone thought an entire tech sector would be based on this!” he continued.

In a related report, IDIOT have confirmed that XML is totally shit.

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NIH announces all funding decisions to be made by someone who hates you

Bethesda, USA.  In a shock turn of events, the NIH announced today that every single funding decision from this day forwards will be made by a person who hates you.

NIH funding has suffered recently, with grant success rates plummeting as more and more desperate scientists apply for less and less funds.

“This is the perfect solution!” announced Colin Francis, inventor of the first Ebola vaccine and Director of NIH.  “We basically have no federal funding.  Nada.  Zilch.  They gave us a few billion dollars but I spent it all on the phantom Ebola vaccine I might have created in the 80s” he continued.

“This is a stroke of genius” said May Beliar, NIH head of communications.  “As we have no money left, we can’t award any grants.  But instead of just saying that, we will continue as usual, but have everyone nominate someone who hates them to review their grants.  It’s insanely brilliant.  Nothing will get funded ever again – but noone can accuse us of having no budget!”

In an unrelated announcement, Colin Francis announcced an unprecedented $1 trillion investment in basic research, and asked everyone to provide a list of the 10 people who hate them the most.

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