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A gas-giant exoplanet orbits so close to its star that liquid iron might rain in its skies. Astronomers glimpsed the tell-tale signal of gaseous iron in the spectrum of light observable on the planet at the boundary where day turns to night. When night turns to morning, the signal is gone — hinting that the iron condenses into rainfall at night.
Scientists who post their peer-review activity on the website Publons say they’ve reviewed papers for journals termed ‘predatory’, an analysis has found. The researchers who review most for predatory journals tend to be young, inexperienced and affiliated with institutions in low-income nations in Africa and the Middle East. Many of the titles have some editorial oversight, but the quality of reviews is in question. “Clearly I was naively deluded in thinking if you had proper reviews the quality of publications would rise,” says entomologist Ian Burgess.
Features & opinion
Nuclear physicist and polymath Freeman Dyson’s influence spanned physics, disarmament, politics, culture and even science fiction. While still a student, he provided the mathematical grounds for quantum electrodynamics, or QED, to explain the interactions of elementary particles. The design of a safe, popular nuclear reactor, the adaptive optics used in many telescopes and 50 years of US government advice were among his many legacies — as well as a contrarian view of the impact of climate change.
Neurophysiologist Nancy Wexler spent her career chasing down the gene, discovered in 1993, that causes Huntington’s disease — the genetic condition that killed her mother, uncles and grandfather. Now Wexler has gone public with the fact that she has Huntington’s herself. Much of the reason is to raise awareness of the poverty and stigma faced by some extended families in Venezuela with high rates of the disease. Thousands of people from these groups contributed samples that led to the discovery of the gene and to the promising treatments in the clinical pipeline — and Wexler wants these people to benefit, too.
The peer-review process can sometimes take years. During that time, lines of research are abandoned, grants are harder to win, and researchers feel unable to compete for fellowships and jobs. Four researchers across different fields share the emotional and professional cost of drawn-out peer reviews and how things could improve.
Flattening the curve — slowing the rate of coronavirus infections so that the health-care system can cope — is super important. Cattening the curve is super important and includes added cats! Thanks to epidemiologist Anne Marie Darling for meme-ifying a graph we all need to see.
Like many of you, efforts to slow COVID-19 mean I’m working from home. Let me know your favourite video conference backdrop — and guess which Nature editor prefers a life-sized cardboard cutout of Idris Elba — by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re in less cosy surroundings, or facing difficulties, you have my very best wishes.
Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing