Hello Nature readers, would you like to get this Briefing in your inbox free every day? Sign up here.
Russia’s Sputnik V sparked controversy when it became the first COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized by any nation, before early-stage trial results had been published. It has since been approved in 67 countries, including Brazil, Hungary, India and the Philippines, but has not yet garnered World Health Organization approval. Mounting evidence from Russia and other countries now suggests that it is safe and effective — but questions remain about the quality of surveillance for possible rare side effects.
Male dolphins learn the signature whistles — unique ‘names’ given to dolphins by their mothers — of each member of their extensive, lifelong network of allies. The finding suggests that the cetaceans have a concept of team membership — a first in the animal kingdom. Scientists used underwater sound systems and drones to observe how dolphins responded to each other’s hails. The animals were quickest to heed the call of pals who had helped them in the past.
A peer-reviewed paper that misrepresented the risks of COVID-19 vaccines has prompted an exodus from the editorial board of the journal Vaccines. High-profile virologist Florian Krammer and immunologist Katie Ewer, who worked on the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, were among the editors who resigned in protest. “The data has been misused because it makes the (incorrect) assumption that all deaths occurring post vaccination are caused by vaccination,” says Ewer. It’s a case of “garbage in, garbage out”, says vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris, who also resigned as a Vaccines editor. The paper’s three authors stand by their results. “The data are weak, we do and did say that,” they said in a statement. “But they are the best we currently have.” The paper was retracted on Friday.
Features & opinion
Nobel-prizewinning chemist Ei-ichi Negishi discovered Negishi coupling — a palladium-catalysed cross-coupling reaction used in everything from developing antibiotics to building light-emitting diodes. Negishi refused to patent his idea, and it remains one of the most widely used techniques for forming large organic compounds. Negishi was known for his approachable nature, writes journalist and historian Kit Chapman. He also “had a competitive streak — in the laboratory and at karaoke, for which he could sing more than 1,000 tunes”. Negishi died on 6 June, aged 85.
Well-intentioned changes to improve science could become empty gestures unless underlying values change, argues research consultant Stuart Buck. As vice-president of research at the philanthropic organization Arnold Ventures, Buck dispersed more than US$60 million in grants to make sure researchers could build on others’ results. “I worry that, by adopting the trappings of reproducibility, poor-quality work can look as if it has engaged in best practices,” writes Buck. “Idealism from early-career scientists must be matched by strong signals from senior leaders and institutions that it is possible to be hired and get tenure while engaging in best practices.”
Smartphones, sensors and consumer habits reveal much about society. Too few people have a say in how these data are created and used, argue emerging-technology researcher Jathan Sadowski, legal scholar Salomé Viljoen and artificial-intelligence researcher Meredith Whittaker.
Read more: Nature Special: Computational social science
Infographic of the week
A structure built from tiny, 3D-printed, open-faced cells can draw up fluids through capillary action and allow the absorption and desorption of surrounding gas molecules. A tree-like structure built from the cells continuously delivers liquid from a reservoir to the tips of the branches, where the liquid evaporates — a process that mimics transpiration in natural trees. (Nature News & Views article | 7 min read)
Do you fancy whiling away the hours with science pioneers such as Annie Easley and Marie Curie? Enter here for a chance to win a Women in Science jigsaw puzzle from author–illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky, based on her book (new and current Briefing readers are welcome to enter).
I’ll feel like a winner if you share your opinion on this newsletter. Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With contributions by John Pickrell