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The Limits of "Citizen Science"

Should science be more transparent? Maybe, says Imperial College, London's Alice Bell in The Guardian, but some data isn't easily shared, and data by itself means nothing. "Information may be 'beautiful' but on its own, it is inert," Bell says. "Opening data sets doesn't necessarily unlock the craft of knowledge-making. It takes time to learn these skills." The public can certainly be involved in the construction of knowledge, but only in collaboration with scientists, "precisely because data needs context and often requires specialist skills to analyze," she adds. Instead of using a battering ram to knock down the doors to the lab, Bell suggests, "maybe an invite for a cup of tea and a chat would be a more effective model." Invite the citizens in, but remember that the scientists, their skills, methods, equipment, and expertise are still important too.

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.