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Own Merits

There are thousands of new research papers examining the coronavirus, and NPR writes that the sheer volume can make it tricky for scientists and others to sort through and vet.

BMJ's Theo Bloom tells NPR one common approach many people use is to look for names of researchers or institutions on the paper they are familiar with and find trustworthy. However, Bloom adds that this approach can reinforce the "'old boys' network" and discount potentially important coronavirus research coming out of China and Europe from researchers and institutions that might not be as well known to US researchers. 

She cautions against the use of those types of markers to indicate quality. "There are retractions and falsifications from great journals, great institutions, from Nobel laureates and so on," Bloom adds at NPR. "So, it behooves us all to try and move away from who we recognize as good."

Instead, researchers tell NPR that the science should be vetted on its own. McGill University's Jonathan Kimmelman, for instance, describes how he compared one research team's stated plan at ClinicalTrials.gov to what it reported, finding inconsistencies. "It probably took me something between 15 minutes and 30 minutes to come to [the] conclusion that this paper wasn't worth the time of day," he tells NPR.

The Scan

For Martian Fuel

Researchers have outlined a plan to produced rocket fuel on Mars that uses a combination of sunlight, carbon dioxide, frozen water, cyanobacteria, and engineered E. coli, according to Gizmodo.

To Boost Rapid Testing

The Washington Post writes that new US programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests.

PNAS Papers on Strawberry Evolution, Cell Cycle Regulators, False-Positive Triplex Gene Editing

In PNAS this week: strawberry pan-genome, cell cycle-related roles for MDM2 and MDMX, and more.

Not Immediately Told

The US National Institutes of Health tells lawmakers that one of its grantees did not immediately report that it had developed a more infectious coronavirus, Science says.