Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

September 26th

Spectrum of color

Many adults on the spectrum feel forgotten — dismissed in a society that sees autism as a childhood condition. But adults with autism who are also members of minority groups may feel particularly invisible, according to an essay published in the latest issue of Zoom Autism Magazine.

“We’re just like anyone else, but time and again brown autistic peoples are forgotten, seemingly viewed through the broad lens of ‘the standard black stereotype,’” writes Michael Buckholtz, a musician who describes himself as “multiethnic with brown skin.”

Buckholtz writes that he is used to being racially profiled and prepares carefully before going out for potential encounters with police.

“I rehearse, out loud, the exact wording for responses to questions I may get from people in authority so as to remain neutral and pleasant,” Buckholtz writes. “The planning involved in me leaving the house, to do basic things, is an undertaking of epic proportions.”

Zoom Autism Magazine / 26 Sep 2016
Biased review

Peer reviewers are more likely to recommend that a paper be accepted when they can see the authors’ names and institutions than when they are blinded to a study’s investigators, according to a study published 27 September in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the study, 119 reviewers read the same fake manuscript that either included the names of the supposed authors — two prominent orthopedic surgeons — or omitted them.

The finding suggests that double-blind peer review, in which reviewers are blinded to author names and vice versa, might level the publication playing field.

“Bias with single-blind review might be greatest in the setting of author or institutional prestige,” the authors write.

Journal of the American Medical Association / 27 Sep 2016
Fees, please

Over the past four years, eLife has established itself as a leader in the world of open-access publishing. Particularly appealing to prospective authors is the journal’s no-fee publication policy. But that policy is about to change.

Starting next year, eLife will charge $2,500 per accepted paper. The journal announced the fee Thursday, saying the revenue will help cover the cost of hiring editors.

“Thanks to the support of our three funders, thousands of authors have benefited from eLife’s editorial and publishing processes at no cost to themselves,” the journal’s website reads. The journal is a nonprofit initiative backed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust. “However, given the continuing increase in submissions we are experiencing — on track to exceed 8,000 manuscripts this year — we have reached the point where we need a revenue stream to help cover the costs of future growth.”

Long leads

In April, AstraZeneca announced plans to sequence 2 million genomes in a decade. The goal is to find rare variants that contribute to conditions or influence an individual’s response to a particular treatment.

This week, the pharmaceutical giant named the leader of the ambitious project: David Goldstein, director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Columbia University.

In a Q&A with Nature, Goldstein defended the effort’s 10-year timeline.

“In the pharmaceutical world, sticking to something for many years is a challenge,” he said. “That said, I am pretty comfortable with the 10-year time frame for making valuable contributions to drug development.”

Job news

Making a career move? Send your news to [email protected].