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The world’s largest science publishers are teaming up to establish standards for catching suspicious images in manuscripts submitted for peer review. Altered or duplicated images can result from honest mistakes, efforts to improve readability — or fraud. Elsevier, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, Springer Nature and others aim to set standards for software that can compare a large number of images across many papers at once.
(Nature is editorially independent of its publisher, Springer Nature — as is this Briefing.)
Features & opinion
Robert May, a pioneering theoretical ecologist and outspoken government adviser, died last month at age 84. In a career that spanned continents and disciplines, May helped to revolutionize the study of biodiversity, population dynamics and infectious-disease epidemiology. As chief scientific adviser to the UK government, he emphasized principles particularly relevant in the current pandemic: transparency, seeking a wide range of views and fully acknowledging uncertainties. May was known for his plain way of speaking and his competitiveness: “It was once said that when he went home to play with his much-loved poodle Perri, he played to win,” write ecologists John Krebs and Michael Hassell.
News & views
Astronomers have decoded the inner pulsations of a class of stars called δ Scuti by precisely tracking how their brightness evolves in time. Stellar pulsations can help researchers to understand the inner structure of a star, “like the standing sound waves responsible for the sounds of musical instruments such as violins and oboes”, write astronomers József Benkő and Margit Paparó. δ Scuti stars have so far been difficult to understand because their pulsations appear to be less regular than those of other types of star.
Space scientist and musician Chris Boshuizen used the real data on a δ Scuti called HD 31901 to create this delightful audio and visualization of its pulsations.
Infographic of the week
Groups opposing vaccines are small in size, but their online-communications strategy is worryingly effective and far-reaching. In contrast, pages that explain the benefits of and the scientific case for vaccination are largely disconnected from the “main battlefield” for public sentiment. Researchers analysed Facebook pages followed by 85 million individuals to map the connections. The messages could undermine efforts to establish herd immunity to the new coronavirus, say researchers. (Nature | 5 min read)