As research facilities in Japan have been affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and rising levels of radiation, David Cyranoski at Nature's Great Beyond blog wonders what this means for scientific research. He notes that many foreign researchers are leaving the area while many Japanese are staying — there is an "atmosphere of uncertainty," Cyranoski says. He adds: "This has been frustrating for scientists trying to keep their labs together. ... Many have just been forced to shut down labs even if they would have been happy to stay. Labs using biological samples will be especially challenged to get through this and, assuming things settle down on the radiation front, get back to lab work."
For researchers who are fleeing Japan, Cyranoski says, in a separate post, that scientists outside the country are trying to come up with ways to help. Suzi Jarvis from University College Dublin suggests that institutions devise "emergency sabbaticals" for affected researchers and FMP Berlin's Philipp Selenko suggests a similar idea for German labs. "Now is the time to act, even if it just means calling up Japanese colleagues asking them about their well being, inviting them to Germany for seminars or offering them or their students the possibility of research stays," Selenko writes.