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Developing a scientific research question

When writing a research manuscript, a fundamental step is to figure out the question. Many journals won’t accept a purely descriptive manuscript, which is why it’s so important to address a non-trivial scientific question or hypothesis.

An interview with preLighter Meng Zhu

A photo of Meng in the lab

In February our preprint highlights service preLights celebrated its second birthday. To mark the occasion, we met with Cambridge-based preLighter Meng Zhu. Read the interview below, originally produced for our WeChat channel, to find out why Meng came to the UK, her thoughts on preprints and her life in Cambridge as an international student.

Workshop – Data Science in Cell Imaging

The Company of Biologists Workshop ‘Data Science in Cell Imaging’ took place at Wiston House, West Sussex (UK) between 2 – 5 February 2020.

Cell imaging has entered the “Big Data” era. New technologies in microscopy and molecular biology

Read & Publish at The Company of Biologists

Jisc, MALMAD and SAMS logos

There’s no doubt that Open Access is shaping the future of academic publishing. A number of changes are on the horizon, with publishers, authors and institutions all responding to new guidelines.

The Company of Biologists is embracing this move with a series of pilot Read & Publish Agreements with leading consortia and academic institutions. But, what exactly are they?

Anti-ageing in the Greenland Shark

The Greenland Shark, Somniosus microcephalus, has remarkable longevity and is the longest-living vertebrate known to science. The decline of shorter-lived species involves the loss of DNA integrity via the loss of DNA repair mechanisms. The longevity of the Greenland Shark suggests resilience to this age-related functional decline.

To test the hypothesis that Greenland Shark DNA is unique in this respect, Pierre Delaroche travelled from Dr Holly Shiels’ lab at the University of Manchester to the University of Copenhagen’s Arctic Station on Disko Island in Greenland with Professor John Fleng Steffensen. 

How to promote your research

Publishing your paper is just the start of communicating your research to the world. Some researchers feel uneasy about self-promotion, but chances are your existing network is interested in what you’re doing – you just need to tell them! Sharing your work is useful and professional. Follow our 10 tips to get started.

What does the COVID-19 pandemic mean for The Company of Biologists?

The Company of Biologists' office

On Monday 23 March 2020, the Prime Minister of the UK addressed the nation in what is thought to be the most-watched moment in British television history. The speech outlined new restrictions to help slow the spread of COVID-19 as we were all told: “You must stay home”.

Monday 23 March 2020 was also the first day that The Company of Biologists became a fully remote office. In a regular working week, a number of staff members work at home but only for one or two days. Never before has the company been a fully remote office, so how are we doing it?

Why is stupidity in scientific research important?

As relevant today as it was 11 years ago, Martin Schwartz’s essay on the importance of stupidity in scientific research has reached over 1 million people to date.

In an excerpt of his 2008 Journal of Cell Science essay, Martin’s message resonates as loudly now as it did then.

A successful back-up plan leads to publication

Hummingbird images captured during the experiment

In 2014, Dr Sridhar Ravi, University of New South Wales, received a Travelling Fellowship from Journal of Experimental Biology. Using the grant, he visited labs run by Professor Andrew Biewener and Professor Stacey Combes in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Although the original experiments didn’t quite go to plan, the team’s back-up plan was a success and earlier this year a paper based on the data from the trip was published.

New imaging approach unveils a bigger picture

As intelligent problem-solvers and devious escape artists with the ability to change colour, skin texture and shape, octopuses have captured the minds of researchers for good reason. Hydrostats make up the octopus’ most well-known feature, its eight arms. These muscular structures lack skeletal support, which provides octopuses with a high degree of flexibility that is visible in their ability to explore and manipulate small objects. 

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