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The Popular Crowd

Some younger scientists are having trouble getting funding for their research through traditional means, so they are increasingly turning to crowdfunding, says Kelly Slivka at The New York Times' Green blog. Websites like Kickstarter have been popular, but there are also platforms like SciFund Challenge that are specifically dedicated to scientific research. SciFund Challenge was started by two University of California, Santa Barbara ecologists who saw how successful Kickstarter was, and decided that a crowdfunding resource would be a good way for scientists to engage with the public while raising money for their work, Slivka says. Some more senior scientists have also shown interest in crowdfunding, she adds. They view it as a way for younger scientists to establish themselves while educating the public about advances in research.

Some, however, have criticized crowdfunding, likening it to a popularity contest that draws money to "trendy," though not necessarily important, research, Slivka says. Others point out that the projects haven't been peer-reviewed. But David Skelly, associate dean for research at Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, tells Slivka that the advantages of crowdfunding outweigh the disadvantages. "For the first time in my career — and I got my PhD 20 years ago — there's a dialogue going on between scientists doing primary research and the public," Skelly says.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.