Top 10 stories of 2013

Our most viewed articles featured scientific discoveries, career advice and tools you can use

Alison Bert, DMAThis past year, the 300+ stories in Elsevier Connect delved into everything from how animals think to how to 3D-print your lab equipment on a budget. We selected those with the most unique views to feature in our Top 10.

Our contributors are members of the global science and health communities —  researchers, professors, students, medical practitioners, librarians, authors, science writers, and the publishing colleagues at Elsevier who work closely with them, many having worked in labs or hospitals themselves.

If you are interested in writing for Elsevier Connect or have an idea for a story, please contact me at[divider]

1. Preventing marijuana-induced memory problems with OTC painkillers

By Mary Beth O'Leary | Posted on 21 Nov 2013

Preventing marijuana-induced memory loss with OTC painkillersThis story highlighted a new study in the Cell Press journal Cell that suggests that use of medical marijuana could be broadened if patients took NSAIDs like ibuprofen. Many readers are interested in scientific discoveries published in Elsevier's journals, with this one topping the list this year. While the authors conducted their research with medical marijuana in mind, some of the readers were apparently interested in broader applications, as can be seen by their comments here and on other social media platforms.

Another popular article on this topic was an editorial written by Joseph Alpert, MD, the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Medicine: "Research — not regulations — should guide medical marijuana use."[divider]

2. Nine things you should consider before embarking on a PhD

By Andy Greenspon | Posted on 3 April 2013

Andy Greenspon

This is a great article to share with people who are considering graduate school. Andy Greenspon wrote this article as a first-year PhD student in Applied Physics at Harvard, sharing his own experiences and the lessons he learned while embarking on his PhD. Many people posted comments to ask his advice about their own situations, and Andy responded to all of them despite his busy research schedule. There are 61 comments on this story, making for a fascinating conversation.

Sometimes when I ask young scholars to write for Elsevier Connect, they tell me they're not experts in their subject areas yet. But we're all l experts on the lives we lead, and we are constantly learning from our mistakes. That's why the classic advice for writers is: "Write about what you know."


3. Fracking — the pros and cons

By Scott A. Elias, PhD | Posted on 9 September 2013

Fracking wellMany of our stories are written by Elsevier's authors and editors. Dr. Scott A. Elias, Professor of Quaternary Science in the Department of Geography of Royal Holloway, University of London, is Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. His chief research focuses on the reconstruction of past environmental change and the response of animals and plants to those changes during the last million years.

Here, Dr. Elias writes about what's really going on beneath our feet when we use fracking to extract natural gas from deep underground.


4. Ten tips to finishing your PhD faster

By Rodney E. Rohde, PhD | Posted on 23 October 2013

Rodney E. Rohde

We became acquainted with Professor Rohde when he left a thoughtful comment on Andy Greenspon's article "Nine things you should consider before embarking on a PhD." This man is not only a leader in his field (public health and clinical microbiology) — he achieved an impressive feat: finishing his PhD in four years while working as an Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor at Texas State University. He was already advising his students on how to make the most of their PhD years (while not making it their careers or settling for the ABD), so we were happy to provide a broader forum for his advice.


5. Selection of Nobel Laureates' research is freely available on Elsevier's tribute site

By Sacha Boucherie | Posted on 17 October 2013

Nobel Tribute websiteThis article includes synopses of the 2013 Nobel laureates and their research — and a link to the tribute website that has free access to some of the research they published with Elsevier.


6. Article Usage Reports enable authors to track downloads and views

By Linda Willems | Posted on 24 September 2013

Article Usage ReportsSome of our most popular articles are about tools that help researchers be more productive. In the world of academia, the number of citations an article receives has long been a recognized measure of success. However, with the emergence of new article metrics, researchers are increasingly looking to usage data (downloads and article views) and other article-level metrics, such as social media mentions, to understand a paper's impact. This story is about Elsevier's Article Usage Reports — personalized dashboards that provide metrics to gauge an article's impact.[divider]

7. Can we delay aging?

By David Levine | Posted on 26 November 2013

Can we delay aging?

Ninety percent of major diseases are related to aging, so understanding the genetics of aging can give us clues on how to live longer and healthier life. Recently, four experts in biology, medicine, geriatrics and genetics presented at a meeting of the Science Writers in New York (SWINY) and the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR). They talked about whether aging can be delayed — and what works and what doesn't according to the latest science. Science writer and SWINY co-chairman David Levine gives the highlights.


8. How a horse trainer got to publish research with Temple Grandin

By Alison Bert, Editor-in-Chief | Posted on 3 June 2013

Mark J. DeesingTemple Grandin was a teenager, she realized she related to animals in a way most people don't — in large part because of her autism and her tendency to think in pictures. She became a professor of animal science and a pioneer in the field of humane livestock handling. When I interviewed her last spring about the updated edition of her book Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals, she talked about the work of her co-author, Mark Deesing.

When I called him, he told me the fascinating story about how he met Dr. Grandin and got to publish research with her even though he didn't have the opportunity to finish college. And he talked about what he discovered from his work with horses — and what caused Professor Grandin to take notice.


9. Six ways to find Elsevier's open access content

By Rachel Martin | Posted on 24 September 2013

Six ways to find Elsevier's open access contentA brief guide to discovering open access journals and articles on ScienceDirect. It's one of many articles in our popular open access category.


10. Eight reasons I accepted your article

By Elizabeth Zwaaf | Posted on 15 January 2013


One of the first stories we published in Elsevier Connect was "8 reasons I rejected your article." by Dr. Peter Thrower, Editor-in-Chief of Carbon. Because of its popularity, one of our colleagues followed up by asking five Elsevier editors a related question: What are the top eight reasons you accept a paper? Here's what they had to say.


Elsevier Connect Author

Alison Bert (@AlisonBert) is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier Connect. She joined Elsevier five years ago from the world of journalism, where she was a business reporter and blogger for The Journal News, a Gannett daily newspaper in New York. In the previous century, she was a classical guitarist on the music faculty of Syracuse University. She received a doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, was a Fulbright Scholar in Spain and performed in the 1986 master class of Andres Segovia.

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