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Two more universities in Japan, Juntendo University and Kitasato University, have admitted to favouring male applicants over female ones to their medical-degree programmes. The revelations come four months after reports that Tokyo Medical University had been altering the results of its entrance examination for years to keep the proportion of female entrants below 30% of all students. The news sparked outrage in the country, and prompted a government investigation to examine whether the practice was used at other medical schools.
Climate scientists can breathe a cautious sigh of relief — the latest round of United Nations climate talks ended last weekend with a deal to keep the Paris climate accord on track. The agreement lays out rules for tracking, reporting and verifying nations’ greenhouse-gas emissions. But some scientists say that rules alone are not enough: “The world needs more than climate-policy targets and processes,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, co-director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “It needs concrete measures, and they must be taken now.”
Researchers in China who commit scientific misconduct could soon be prevented from getting a bank loan, running a company or applying for a public-service job. The government has announced an extensive punishment system that could have consequences for offenders far beyond their academic careers. The policy is linked to the country’s controversial ‘social credit system’, where failure to comply with the rules of one government agency can mean facing restrictions or penalties from others. Under the new policy, dozens of government agencies will have the power to hand out penalties to those caught committing major scientific misconduct.
Hungary’s ministry for innovation is withholding running costs for at least three months from institutes supported by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The academy runs 44 basic-research institutes, and the decree has left some researchers worried about how they’re going to keep the lights on in the new year. The turmoil is the result of sweeping reforms to Hungary’s research system, instigated by the nation’s populist government, which include a complete restructuring in 2019 of how academic research is organized and funded.
FEATURES & OPINION
It’s time for the hotly anticipated Nature’s 10 — our annual list of ten people who mattered in science this year. “The stories of these ten people capture some of the most memorable scientific events in 2018,” says our chief features editor, Rich Monastersky, “and they force us to confront difficult questions about who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going.” This year’s selection includes a rogue gene-editor, a wunderkind physicist and a DNA detective who helped to catch a serial killer.
Thousands of bats lurking in a dark Ugandan cave carry the deadly Marburg virus. As fearsome and mysterious as its cousin Ebola, Marburg kills up to 9 in 10 of its victims. Now scientists are glueing tiny GPS trackers to the bats in the hopes that spying on their nightly escapades will help them understand how the virus is spreading to humans.