Mental Health in Research, Plate Tectonics and Other Picks of the Week

[3 - 7 March 2014] The editors’ note about your science week

This week's science news brought us both the biggest virus ever and Europe's biggest predator ever. The mental health of researchers is turning into a more serious problem than ever, while the need to share data becomes ever-more critical. These stories and more in #MSWnews and our picks of the week.

This week, on the MyScienceWork menu:

In this interview with Mark Parsons of the Research Data Alliance, the importance of sharing research data was discussed, as well as the practical changes underway to make it possible.

Data Without Borders — The Research Data Alliance


We say that Earth’s continents are “drifting”, but did you realize that they’re floating on solid rock? And that no one had seen, until now, how the crystals in the mantle’s rocks are able to bend and yield? These results will have an impact on plate tectonic studies, as well as material science.

The hidden explanation behind the plasticity of earth’s mantle


Artwork by Sergey Krasovskiy via Discovery News


Some favorites from around the web:

This week, TechCrunch explored the way start-ups are changing the world of research, moving into the realms of crowdfunding and open access.

From Crowdfunding To Open Access, Startups Are Experimenting With Academic Research


The discovery of a new, giant virus was just announced: 30,000 years old, frozen in the Siberian soil, and still infectious.  This and others like it suggest the need to reconsider the way we classify life.

Viruses Reconsidered: Discovery of more and more viruses of record-breaking size calls for reclassification of life


Another “biggest ever” was revealed this week: Europe’s largest predator ever discovered, in the form of a new dinosaur.

New Dino Ranks as Europe's Largest-Ever Predator


From the point of view of those making such discoveries, mental health has become a big concern. Two posts from this past week addressed the high rate of such problems among PhD students…

There is a culture of acceptance around mental health issues in academia

…and asked why they seem to be increasing in academia.

Dark thoughts: why mental illness is on the rise in academia


Perhaps one small way researchers can improve their own working conditions is by…blogging! Sociologist Mark Carrigan wrote about freeing his academic creativity through the act of blogging.

Blogging can be a release from all the structural pressures corroding the creative impulse in academic writing.