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A stone building with columns and porticos, and an entrance sign in Chinese.

The Harbin Institute of Technology on the Chinese mainland. The government in Taiwan has fined a researcher for allegedly managing projects at the institute.Credit: Getty

Taiwan’s education ministry has fined prominent chemical engineer Lee Duu-Jong for allegedly managing research projects funded by the Chinese mainland without approval from the island’s authorities. Lee says he was not involved in the projects and was listed as the person in charge without his knowledge. China’s central government has criticized the fine as politically motivated. The censure could affect how researchers approach collaborations between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.

Nature | 5 min read

The American Physical Society (APS) is the first among US scientific societies to say it won’t schedule future meetings in cities with racist policing records. The APS will now consider factors including: whether city police are trained in de-escalation measures; whether an independent body exists to investigate shootings and deaths in police custody; and whether a city provides open data on the use of force by its police, as well as demographic information about the targets of that force. Physicist Philip Phillips helped to prompt the move when he and colleague Michael Weissman drafted an open letter asking scientific societies to consider taking tangible steps to back up protests against police violence. “It occurred to me that meetings held in cities are putting Black and brown people at risk if they aren’t choosing with anything in mind about what are the policing practices,” says Phillips.

Nature | 5 min read

Notable quotable

Referring to the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, health-equity researcher Giselle Corbie-Smith notes some of the factors that make vaccine hesitancy a complex issue requiring a range of approaches. (The Atlantic | 10 min read)

Features & opinion

Researchers inside and outside China are caught in an intensifying pattern of distrust, writes sociologist Joy Zhang. “Two decades ago, global scepticism about Chinese science arguably spurred the nation’s burgeoning life-sciences community to raise its standards,” notes Zhang, who has spearheaded efforts to promote transparency in the life sciences in the country. “But what [scientists] see as an uptick in China-bashing has riled them and, I fear, made them more sympathetic to Chinese nationalist propaganda. To promote openness in Chinese science, it’s more important than ever that Chinese scientists feel valued within the global community.”

Nature | 5 min read

Nineteen key Australian ecosystems are collapsing because of combined pressure from climate change and other human impacts, write ecologist Dana Bergstrom and three colleagues. From tropical savannahs to kelp forests, these ecosystems have changed in a substantial, negative way from their original state, and are unlikely to recover without a major course correction. “Evidence of their demise shows we’re exceeding planetary boundaries,” write the researchers. They suggest a framework for positive actions — many of which build upon existing efforts — that can help to protect or restore ecosystems at local and global levels.

The Conversation | 6 min read

Reference: Global Change Biology paper

A debate at a scholarly communications conference last month posed the question: should journals pay peer reviewers? The ‘yeas’ argued that a fee would support a crucial part of the scientific system and encourage better reviews. The ‘nays’ questioned whether the added cost to publishers and the incentive to game the system would do more harm than good.

Science | 7 min read

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