Access to vital information: drug safety edition

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on January 26, 2014 - 17:27

With the recent news that the main Health Canada research library in Ottawa has closed, with inter-library loans (i.e.

Luxury journals... time for a boycott?

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on January 1, 2014 - 18:39

This year´s Medicine Nobel Prize-winner, cell biologist Randy Schekman, published a commentary in the Guardian a few weeks ago arguing that the incentives that big journals—specifically, Science, Cell and Nature—offer distort the progress of science. (The author is the editor of an open access journal, eLife, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Max Planck Society).

The shredding of evidence: some holiday reading

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on December 16, 2013 - 16:51

Journalist Chris Turners new book, The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper's Canada

Crispr-CAS9 and the promise of simple gene editing

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on December 10, 2013 - 14:00

A top story for this year has got to be the Crispr-CAS9 technique for targeted gene editing. Many of you will be aware of this exciting development in genetics.

Healthy food policies at risk

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on December 2, 2013 - 23:17

The Globe & Mail has a story about our most recent commentary, on the cluttering of Canadian federal government food policy committees with food sector representatives whose financial interest isn’ t necessarily the same as the public interest in policy supporting a healthy diet--and so better health for Canadians.

Pressing the Open Access Button

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on November 21, 2013 - 15:43

The world of open information is so new and humming with ideas that it’s hard to divine what’s likely to stick. This is a good place to check out some of the newest initiatives.

Here’s one:

The end of antibiotics, period?

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on November 7, 2013 - 22:27

Twenty years ago, I wrote a paper for my high school biology class on the not-much-discussed topic of antibiotic resistance. What I learned seemed like science fiction; due to overuse and improper use of antibiotics, we faced a return to the dark ages before penicillin, when a chance infection could easily spell death and doctors were largely helpless in the face of them.

Media release: Trends in HIV prevalence, new diagnoses, and mortality in Ontario

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on October 23, 2013 - 22:30

Open Medicine

A peer-reviewed, independent, open-access journal.

Trends in HIV prevalence, new HIV diagnoses, and mortality among adults with HIV who entered care in Ontario,1996/1997 to 2009/2010: a population-based study

About Science and open access

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on October 23, 2013 - 22:26

In a clever sting operation, Science magazine revealed recently that many of the open access science journals that have proliferated in the last few years are not what they ought to be.

As you can read in much more detail here, the magazine worked with researchers to create a sham article, convincing in many ways but fundamentally flawed both ethically and in experimental design. Any competent peer reviewer should have caught the problems and rejected the article.

Dr. Loubani released from detention at last; still in Cairo

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on October 8, 2013 - 21:34

We'd like to thank our readers who joined the tens of thousands of others who petitioned the Canadian government, called the Egyptian embassy and showed their support for our colleague, Dr. Tarek Loubani. As you will have heard by now, Tarek and filmmaker John Greyson (who was travelling with him on a medical mission to Gaza when the pair were arrested in Cairo) were released from prison on Sunday morning after fifty days in detention without charges.