Founder of the highly controversial Sci-Hub, Alexandra Elbakyan, has recently pulled access to the research pirate site in Russia. After criticism from Russian scientists, Elbakayan finally pulled the plug on Russia’s access to Sci-Hub after researchers named a new parasitic insect after her.

The so-called “Pirate Bay of science” made its mark in 2011 when Kazakhstan hacked into hundreds of scholarly journals, leaking million documents and illegally allowing the public to freely access scientific papers.

Previously, Elbakyan referred to the internet as a “global brain,” stating that paywalls should not exist in order to provide a free flow of content that can help build society. Now, she has described recent attacks on her as an “extreme injustice,” saying: “If you analyze the situation with scientific publications, the real parasites are scientific publishers, and Sci-Hub, on the contrary, fights for equal access to scientific information.”

This is not the first to Sci-Hub has come under attack. In June 2017, publishing giant Elsevier won a legal judgement against sites like Sci-Hub, awarding the publisher $15 million in damages for copyright infringement. The site is also facing legal action from the American Chemical Society.


ARPA-EIn a recent post by Bill Gates, the business magnate identified the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, more commonly known as ARPA-E, as his favorite obscure government agency.

Gates cited the agency as a key in solving pressing energy issues, referencing his faith in ARPA-E as demonstrated through his involvement in the $1 billion investment funding created in 2016 through Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV).

BEV was developed as an initiative to provide affordable, clean energy to people across the globe. In order to make that energy future possible, Gates and his partners at BEV knew they would have to depend on public, government funded research.

Since its establishment in 2009 under then U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, ARPA-E has acted as an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy that can help deliver the highly innovative technology that ventures like BEV depend on. From the agency’s REFUEL program, which promotes the development of carbon-neutral fuels to BEEST, funding research in energy storage for transportation, ARPA-E funds high-risk, high-reward endeavors capable of transforming energy landscapes.


Q&A series with ECS OpenCon 2017 speakers

Dina Paltoo

Dina Paltoo, director, Division of Scientific Data Sharing Policy, Office of Science Policy,
National Institutes of Health

ECS will be hosting its first ever OpenCon event on October 1 in National Harbor, MD. OpenCon will be ECS’s first, large community event aimed at creating a culture of change in how research is designed, shared, discussed, and disseminated, with the ultimate goal of making scientific progress faster.

During ECS’s OpenCon, Dina Paltoo, director of the Division of Scientific Data Sharing Policy at the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Science Policy, will give a talk on open and government.

The following conversation is part of a series with speakers from the upcoming ECS OpenCon. Read the rest of the series.

ECS: Why are you interested in OpenCon?

Dina Paltoo: OpenCon will bring together various stakeholders to learn about recent updates and current activities in open science and public access. Science is generating a vast amount of data, and these data are becoming increasingly digital. The digitization of these data, along with advances in bioinformatics and information technology, as well changes to scientific ethos and practices, are allowing for increased access to and analyses of data. Thus, these data may be used to answer additional research questions which can advance science and benefit the public. It is important for the scientific community to understand the benefits of open science and public access to data.

ECS: The bio and life sciences, as well as the math and physics community, have been early adopters of tools in the open science paradigm. Do you think there are easily transferrable lessons for other scientific disciplines?

DP: I would agree that some scientific communities have been ahead of others, with regards to the open science paradigm. Within the biological sciences for example, the genomics community has been openly sharing data for a number of years. A culture change is needed in many scientific disciplines, and the math and physics community could definitely provide case studies and lessons learned which other disciplines can adopt.


DataResearchers have developed a new way to alleviate many of the issues that make magnetic data storage for computer hard disks and other data storage hardware problematic, including speed and energy use.

For almost seventy years now, magnetic tapes and hard disks have been used for data storage in computers. In spite of many new technologies that have arisen in the meantime, the controlled magnetization of a data storage medium remains the first choice for archiving information because of its longevity and low price.

As a means of realizing random access memories (RAMs), however, which are used as the main memory for processing data in computers, magnetic storage technologies have long been considered inadequate. That is mainly due to its low writing speed and relatively high energy consumption.

Pietro Gambardella, professor at the materials department of ETH Zurich, and his colleagues, have now shown that using a novel technique, faster magnetic storage is possible without wasting energy.


Q&A series with ECS OpenCon 2017 speakers

Meredith Morovati

Meredith Morovati, executive director of Dryad

ECS will be hosting its first ever OpenCon event on October 1 in National Harbor, MD. OpenCon will be ECS’s first, large community event aimed at creating a culture of change in how research is designed, shared, discussed, and disseminated, with the ultimate goal of making scientific progress faster.

During ECS’s OpenCon, Meredith Morovati, executive director of Dryad, will give a talk on open data.

The following conversation is part of a series with speakers from the upcoming ECS OpenCon. Read the rest of the series.

ECS: How and why did Dryad get its start; and how has it grown since then?

Meredith Morovati: Editors from journals in the fields of evolution and life science—some of them competing journals—were becoming concerned that it was difficult to find data that supported the literature; the “policy” of asking an author to share data after the fact was a failure. In 2011, twelve of these editors came together to remedy this, and developed the Joint Data Archive Policy (JDAP). JDAP required, as a condition of publication, that data be archived in an appropriate public archive and stated that data are products of the scientific enterprise in their own right. These editors argued that data must be preserved and usable in the future. JDAP is now a model for requiring data as a condition of publishing an article.

The use of Dryad was not stipulated as part of this policy, but Dryad became the preferred solution due to its one-to-one relationship with data and scholarly literature. In addition, Dryad curates data to ensure high quality metadata and is committed to discoverability.


ECS Recognizes Young Authors

Left to right: Mark Burgess, Kenneth Hernández-Burgos, and Peng Sun

Left to right: Mark Burgess, Kenneth Hernández-Burgos, and Peng Sun

ECS’s honors and awards program recognizes scientific excellence in electrochemical and solid state science. Every year, ECS presents two young author awards for the best papers published in both the Journal of The Electrochemical Society – ECS’s flagship journal, published continuously since 1902 – and the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology.

Mark Burgess and Kenneth Hernández-Burgos from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will receive the Norman Hackerman Young Author Award for best paper published by young authors in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society. Peng Sun from University of Michigan will receive the Bruce Deal & Andy Grove Young Author Award for best paper published by a young author in the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology.

This year’s young author awards will be presented at the 232nd ECS Meeting in National Harbor, MD, Oct. 1-5, 2017.


Chemical engineers have generated ultra-pure green light for the first time.

The new light-emitting diode paves the way for visibly improved color quality in a new generation of ultra-high definition displays for TVs and smartphones.

Electronic devices must first be able to produce ultra-pure red, blue, and green light in order to enable the next generation of displays to show images that are clearer, sharper, richer in detail, and with a more refined range of colors. For the most part, this is already possible for red and blue light; green light, however, has been at the limits of technology.

This is due mainly to human perception, since the eye is able to distinguish between more intermediary green hues than red or blue ones. “This makes the technical production of ultra-pure green very complex, which creates challenges for us when it comes to developing technology and materials,” says Sudhir Kumar of ETH Zurich, co-lead author of the study.

Ultra-pure green plays a key role in extending the color range, or gamut. Ultimately, new hues arise from the technical mixture of three base colors: red, blue, and green. The purer the base colors, the broader the range of hues a screen can display. The new LED is in line with 97 to 99 percent of the international standard for Ultra HD, Rec.2020. By comparison, the purest color TV displays currently available on the market cover on average only 73.11 to 77.72 percent; none exceeds 80 percent.


Focus IssuesThe Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES) Focus Issue on Oxygen Reduction and Evolution Reactions for High Temperature Energy Conversion and Storage is now complete, with 16 open access papers published in the ECS Digital Library.

“In this new and exciting era of distributed electricity generation, the modularity (sub-kW to 100 kW systems) with minimal efficiency loss at small scales makes solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) an exciting energy conversion technology,” the authors say in the focus issue’s preface. “This focus issue presents some of the latest research in understanding fundamental mechanisms of ORR and OER, and highlights new materials and concepts to achieve both greater performance and long-term durability.”

Read the full JES Focus Issue on Oxygen Reduction and Evolution Reactions for High Temperature Energy Conversion and Storage.

ECS would like to thank JES technical editor Tom Fuller and this focus issue’s guest editors Sean Bishop, Ainara Aguadero, and Xingbo Liu.

SemiconductorEngineers have created a high-frequency electronic chip potentially capable of transmitting tens of gigabits of data per second, much faster than the fastest internet available today.

Omeed Momeni, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at University of California, Davis, and doctoral student Hossein Jalili designed the chip using a phased array antenna system. Phased array systems funnel the energy from multiple sources into a single beam that can be narrowly steered and directed to a specific location.

“Phased arrays are pretty difficult to create, especially at higher frequencies,” Momeni says. “We are the first to achieve this much bandwidth at this frequency.”

The chip prototyped by Momeni and Jalili successfully operates at 370 GHz with 52 GHz of bandwidth. For comparison, FM radio waves broadcast between 87.5 and 108 MHz; 4G and LTE cellular networks generally function between 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz with up to 20 MHz of bandwidth.


Tech Highlights

ECS journalsTech Highlights was prepared by David Enos, Mara Schindelholz, and Mike Kelly of Sandia National Laboratories, Colm Glynn and David McNulty of University College Cork, Ireland, and Donald Pile of Rolled-Ribbon Battery Company. This article was originally published in Interface. Read the original article.

Spray Drying-Assisted Synthesis of Li3VO4/C/CNTs Composites for High-Performance Lithium Ion Battery Anodes

Published in the “Focus Issue of Selected Papers from IMLB 2016 with Invited Papers Celebrating 25 Years of Lithium Ion Batteries.” Graphite-based materials continue to be the most commonly used anode materials in commercial Li-ion batteries (LIBs). However, the practical application of graphite anodes in largescale LIBs may be hindered by safety issues arising from Li dendrite formation on the surface of the anode when cycling at fast rates. Read the full paper.

From: Yang Yang, Jiaqi Li, Dingqiong Chen, and Jinbao Zhao, J. Electrochem. Soc., 164, A6001 (2017).


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