Volume 566 Issue 7744, 21 February 2019

The ecology of research

The ecosystem of research is evolving. In many areas of science and technology large teams are on the rise, and this collaborative approach has helped to drive advances that would otherwise have been difficult to realize. But questions remain over how big teams operate compared with smaller set-ups. In this issue, James Evans and his colleagues reveal that small and large teams tend to occupy different niches in the landscape of research and development. The researchers analysed more than 65 million papers, patents and software products for the period 1954–2014, assessing to what extent a paper or product is viewed as a new direction or a refinement of prior work. They found that smaller teams (represented on the cover by the handful of sharks) are more likely to disrupt science and technology with new ideas, designs and approaches. By contrast larger teams tend to school together (the smaller fish), consolidating and developing existing ideas. The researchers suggest that both approaches are required to sustain innovation and preserve a healthy ecosystem for science and technology to flourish.

Cover image: Visual Collective/Shutterstock

This Week

News in Focus

Comment

Careers

Futures

  • Futures |

    Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

    • Alex Shvartsman

Research

    News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Hippocamp, a previously undetected moon of Neptune, has a peculiar location and a tiny size relative to the planet’s other inner moons, which suggests a violent history for the region within 100,000 kilometres of the planet.

    • Anne J. Verbiscer
  • News & Views |

    The link between sleep and cardiovascular disease is poorly understood. Findings in mice now show that disrupted sleep causes the brain to signal the bone marrow to boost white blood cell production, damaging blood vessels.

    • Alan R. Tall
    •  & Sanja Jelic
  • News & Views |

    How Nature reported the roles of birds in the First World War, and a resurgent kanagaroo population in 1968.

  • News & Views |

    The structure of a neutron or a proton is modified when the particle is bound in an atomic nucleus. Experimental data suggest an explanation for this phenomenon that could have broad implications for nuclear physics.

    • Gerald Feldman
  • News & Views |

    To survive and divide, cancer cells need a constant supply of lipid molecules called monounsaturated fatty acids. Tumours can achieve this by an unsuspected route that harnesses a metabolic pathway also used in hair follicles.

    • Marteinn Thor Snaebjornsson
    •  & Almut Schulze
  • News & Views |

    A treatment called eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing alleviates post-traumatic stress disorder through enigmatic mechanisms. A study in mice offers potential clues into the biological basis of this approach.

    • Andrew Holmes
  • Articles

  • Article |

    Bilateral sensory stimulation, which is used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in humans, alleviates fear memory in mice through a circuit involving the superior colliculus and the medial thalamus.

    • Jinhee Baek
    • , Sukchan Lee
    • , Taesup Cho
    • , Seong-Wook Kim
    • , Minsoo Kim
    • , Yongwoo Yoon
    • , Ko Keun Kim
    • , Junweon Byun
    • , Sang Jeong Kim
    • , Jaeseung Jeong
    •  & Hee-Sup Shin
  • Article |

    The transcription factor PU.1 is an essential regulator of the pro-fibrotic gene expression program in fibroblasts; PU.1 expression is upregulated in various fibrotic diseases, whereas inactivation of PU.1 induces regression of fibrosis in a number of organs.

    • Thomas Wohlfahrt
    • , Simon Rauber
    • , Steffen Uebe
    • , Markus Luber
    • , Alina Soare
    • , Arif Ekici
    • , Stefanie Weber
    • , Alexandru-Emil Matei
    • , Chih-Wei Chen
    • , Christiane Maier
    • , Emmanuel Karouzakis
    • , Hans P. Kiener
    • , Elena Pachera
    • , Clara Dees
    • , Christian Beyer
    • , Christoph Daniel
    • , Kolja Gelse
    • , Andreas E. Kremer
    • , Elisabeth Naschberger
    • , Michael Stürzl
    • , Falk Butter
    • , Michael Sticherling
    • , Susetta Finotto
    • , Alexander Kreuter
    • , Mark H. Kaplan
    • , Astrid Jüngel
    • , Steffen Gay
    • , Stephen L. Nutt
    • , David W. Boykin
    • , Gregory M. K. Poon
    • , Oliver Distler
    • , Georg Schett
    • , Jörg H. W. Distler
    •  & Andreas Ramming
  • Letters

  • Letter |

    Hubble Space Telescope observations of the seventh inner moon of Neptune, Hippocamp, show that it is smaller than the other six, orbits near Proteus and probably originates from a fragment of Proteus.

    • M. R. Showalter
    • , I. de Pater
    • , J. J. Lissauer
    •  & R. S. French
  • Letter |

    Simultaneous high-precision measurements of the EMC effect and short-range correlated abundances for several nuclei reveal a universal modification of the structure of nucleons in short-range correlated neutron–proton pairs.

    • B. Schmookler
    • , M. Duer
    • , A. Schmidt
    • , O. Hen
    • , S. Gilad
    • , E. Piasetzky
    • , M. Strikman
    • , L. B. Weinstein
    • , S. Adhikari
    • , M. Amaryan
    • , A. Ashkenazi
    • , H. Avakian
    • , J. Ball
    • , I. Balossino
    • , L. Barion
    • , M. Bashkanov
    • , M. Battaglieri
    • , A. Beck
    • , I. Bedlinskiy
    • , A. S. Biselli
    • , S. Boiarinov
    • , W. J. Briscoe
    • , W. K. Brooks
    • , V. D. Burkert
    • , D. S. Carman
    • , A. Celentano
    • , G. Charles
    • , T. Chetry
    • , G. Ciullo
    • , E. Cohen
    • , P. L. Cole
    • , V. Crede
    • , R. Cruz-Torres
    • , A. D’Angelo
    • , N. Dashyan
    • , E. De Sanctis
    • , R. De Vita
    • , A. Deur
    • , S. Diehl
    • , C. Djalali
    • , R. Dupre
    • , H. Egiyan
    • , L. El Fassi
    • , L. Elouadrhiri
    • , P. Eugenio
    • , G. Fedotov
    • , R. Fersch
    • , A. Filippi
    • , T. A. Forest
    • , G. Gavalian
    • , G. P. Gilfoyle
    • , F. X. Girod
    • , E. Golovatch
    • , R. W. Gothe
    • , K. A. Griffioen
    • , M. Guidal
    • , L. Guo
    • , K. Hafidi
    • , H. Hakobyan
    • , C. Hanretty
    • , N. Harrison
    • , F. Hauenstein
    • , T. B. Hayward
    • , K. Hicks
    • , D. Higinbotham
    • , M. Holtrop
    • , C. E. Hyde
    • , Y. Ilieva
    • , D. G. Ireland
    • , B. S. Ishkhanov
    • , E. L. Isupov
    • , H.-S. Jo
    • , S. Johnston
    • , K. Joo
    • , S. Joosten
    • , M. L. Kabir
    • , D. Keller
    • , G. Khachatryan
    • , M. Khachatryan
    • , M. Khandaker
    • , A. Kim
    • , W. Kim
    • , A. Klein
    • , F. J. Klein
    • , I. Korover
    • , V. Kubarovsky
    • , S. E. Kuhn
    • , S. V. Kuleshov
    • , L. Lanza
    • , G. Laskaris
    • , P. Lenisa
    • , K. Livingston
    • , I. J. D. MacGregor
    • , N. Markov
    • , B. McKinnon
    • , S. Mey-Tal Beck
    • , T. Mineeva
    • , M. Mirazita
    • , V. Mokeev
    • , R. A. Montgomery
    • , C. Munoz Camacho
    • , B. Mustapha
    • , S. Niccolai
    • , M. Osipenko
    • , A. I. Ostrovidov
    • , M. Paolone
    • , R. Paremuzyan
    • , K. Park
    • , E. Pasyuk
    • , M. Patsyuk
    • , O. Pogorelko
    • , J. W. Price
    • , Y. Prok
    • , D. Protopopescu
    • , M. Ripani
    • , D. Riser
    • , A. Rizzo
    • , G. Rosner
    • , P. Rossi
    • , F. Sabatié
    • , C. Salgado
    • , R. A. Schumacher
    • , E. P. Segarra
    • , Y. G. Sharabian
    • , I. U. Skorodumina
    • , D. Sokhan
    • , N. Sparveris
    • , S. Stepanyan
    • , S. Strauch
    • , M. Taiuti
    • , J. A. Tan
    • , M. Ungaro
    • , H. Voskanyan
    • , E. Voutier
    • , D. P. Watts
    • , X. Wei
    • , M. Wood
    • , N. Zachariou
    • , J. Zhang
    • , Z. W. Zhao
    •  & X. Zheng
  • Letter |

    Waveguide quantum electrodynamics is used to couple a single collective excitation of an atomic array to a nanoscale waveguide; the excitation is stored and later read out, generating guided single photons on demand.

    • Neil V. Corzo
    • , Jérémy Raskop
    • , Aveek Chandra
    • , Alexandra S. Sheremet
    • , Baptiste Gouraud
    •  & Julien Laurat
  • Letter |

    Scanning tunnelling microscopy shows that 1D channels between quantum Hall states with different valley polarization are metallic or insulating depending on constraints imposed on electron–electron interaction by valley flavour.

    • Mallika T. Randeria
    • , Kartiek Agarwal
    • , Benjamin E. Feldman
    • , Hao Ding
    • , Huiwen Ji
    • , R. J. Cava
    • , S. L. Sondhi
    • , Siddharth A. Parameswaran
    •  & Ali Yazdani
  • Letter |

    Integration of an ultrafast flexible rectifier made from a two-dimensional material with a flexible antenna achieves wireless energy harvesting of Wi-Fi radiation, which could power future flexible electronic systems.

    • Xu Zhang
    • , Jesús Grajal
    • , Jose Luis Vazquez-Roy
    • , Ujwal Radhakrishna
    • , Xiaoxue Wang
    • , Winston Chern
    • , Lin Zhou
    • , Yuxuan Lin
    • , Pin-Chun Shen
    • , Xiang Ji
    • , Xi Ling
    • , Ahmad Zubair
    • , Yuhao Zhang
    • , Han Wang
    • , Madan Dubey
    • , Jing Kong
    • , Mildred Dresselhaus
    •  & Tomás Palacios
  • Letter |

    Complex networks are used to analyse global-scale teleconnections between extreme-rainfall events, revealing a peak in the distance distribution of statistically significant connections at around 10,000 kilometres.

    • Niklas Boers
    • , Bedartha Goswami
    • , Aljoscha Rheinwalt
    • , Bodo Bookhagen
    • , Brian Hoskins
    •  & Jürgen Kurths
  • Letter |

    Analyses of the output produced by large versus small teams of researchers and innovators demonstrate that their work differs systematically in the extent to which it disrupts or develops existing science and technology.

    • Lingfei Wu
    • , Dashun Wang
    •  & James A. Evans
  • Letter |

    The fragmentation of sleep in Apoe−/− mice induces monocytosis and accelerated atherosclerosis due to a reduction in hypocretin that otherwise restricts bone marrow CSF1 availability.

    • Cameron S. McAlpine
    • , Máté G. Kiss
    • , Sara Rattik
    • , Shun He
    • , Anne Vassalli
    • , Colin Valet
    • , Atsushi Anzai
    • , Christopher T. Chan
    • , John E. Mindur
    • , Florian Kahles
    • , Wolfram C. Poller
    • , Vanessa Frodermann
    • , Ashley M. Fenn
    • , Annemijn F. Gregory
    • , Lennard Halle
    • , Yoshiko Iwamoto
    • , Friedrich F. Hoyer
    • , Christoph J. Binder
    • , Peter Libby
    • , Mehdi Tafti
    • , Thomas E. Scammell
    • , Matthias Nahrendorf
    •  & Filip K. Swirski
  • Letter |

    Analyses at single-cell resolution show that diverse subtypes of microglia exist during development and homeostasis of the central nervous system, and identify specific subsets of microglia associated with demyelination and neurodegenerative disease in mice and humans.

    • Takahiro Masuda
    • , Roman Sankowski
    • , Ori Staszewski
    • , Chotima Böttcher
    • , Lukas Amann
    • , Sagar
    • , Christian Scheiwe
    • , Stefan Nessler
    • , Patrik Kunz
    • , Geert van Loo
    • , Volker Arnd Coenen
    • , Peter Christoph Reinacher
    • , Anna Michel
    • , Ulrich Sure
    • , Ralf Gold
    • , Dominic Grün
    • , Josef Priller
    • , Christine Stadelmann
    •  & Marco Prinz
  • Letter |

    Many clonotypes in human B cell repertoires are shared, including between adult and umbilical cord blood repertoires, which indicates that this similarity is not driven only by exposure to common antigens.

    • Cinque Soto
    • , Robin G. Bombardi
    • , Andre Branchizio
    • , Nurgun Kose
    • , Pranathi Matta
    • , Alexander M. Sevy
    • , Robert S. Sinkovits
    • , Pavlo Gilchuk
    • , Jessica A. Finn
    •  & James E. Crowe Jr
  • Letter |

    In several human and mouse cancer cell lines and carcinomas, a sapienate biosynthesis pathway underpins metabolic plasticity by allowing these cells to bypass stearoyl-CoA desaturase-dependent fatty acid desaturation.

    • Kim Vriens
    • , Stefan Christen
    • , Sweta Parik
    • , Dorien Broekaert
    • , Kazuaki Yoshinaga
    • , Ali Talebi
    • , Jonas Dehairs
    • , Carmen Escalona-Noguero
    • , Roberta Schmieder
    • , Thomas Cornfield
    • , Catriona Charlton
    • , Laura Romero-Pérez
    • , Matteo Rossi
    • , Gianmarco Rinaldi
    • , Martin F. Orth
    • , Ruben Boon
    • , Axelle Kerstens
    • , Suet Ying Kwan
    • , Brandon Faubert
    • , Andrés Méndez-Lucas
    • , Charlotte C. Kopitz
    • , Ting Chen
    • , Juan Fernandez-Garcia
    • , João A. G. Duarte
    • , Arndt A. Schmitz
    • , Patrick Steigemann
    • , Mustapha Najimi
    • , Andrea Hägebarth
    • , Jo A. Van Ginderachter
    • , Etienne Sokal
    • , Naohiro Gotoh
    • , Kwok-Kin Wong
    • , Catherine Verfaillie
    • , Rita Derua
    • , Sebastian Munck
    • , Mariia Yuneva
    • , Laura Beretta
    • , Ralph J. DeBerardinis
    • , Johannes V. Swinnen
    • , Leanne Hodson
    • , David Cassiman
    • , Chris Verslype
    • , Sven Christian
    • , Sylvia Grünewald
    • , Thomas G. P. Grünewald
    •  & Sarah-Maria Fendt

Amendments & Corrections

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