NATURE BRIEFING

Journal editors share what makes a great figure. Plus, hackers have been targeting COVID-19 vaccine researchers and how Plan S will open the door to any journal.

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A Professor uses transparencies of graphene structures to demonstrate the patterns created in magic angle graphene

A Professor uses transparencies of graphene structures to demonstrate the patterns created in magic angle graphene

Credit: Juliette Halsey

If you sandwich two sheets of graphene together and twist one in just the right way, it can gain some superconducting properties. Now, physicists have added another material to this sandwich that stabilizes that superconductivity, a result that could complicate physicists’ understanding of magic angles.

Nature Podcast | 37 min listen

Get physicist Ronny Thomale’s expert analysis in the Nature News & Views article.

Reference: Nature paper

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Funding agencies behind the radical open-access initiative Plan S have announced a policy that could make it possible for researchers to publish in any journal they want — even in subscription titles that haven’t yet agreed to comply with the scheme. Plan S funders will make it a condition of grants that authors can share an accepted version of their article under a liberal ‘CC-BY’ publishing licence, as soon as their work appears in a journal. Very few publishers allow this, but Coalition S, the group representing the plan’s members, announced that funders will simply override this prohibition. The already-agreed grant condition will have “legal precedence over any later publishing agreement”, says Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome.

Nature | 4 min read

Notable quotable

COVID-19 has not affected all scientists equally, finds a survey with 4,535 respondents published in Nature Human Behaviour.

Features & opinion

Cuban painted snails are sought by collectors for their range of colours and complex patterns. But trading them has been banned since 2017. Researchers are trying to spread awareness among Cubans and visitors about the perils the snails face from illegal collecting, predation by invasive species, land clearing and climate change. They are also partnering with farmers to encourage them to care for the snails on their land. “They’ll see that it is more successful to protect them alive than to sell them dead,” says biologist Norvis Hernandez.

National Geographic | 9 min read

The editors-in-chief and production office at the Journal of Biogeography want to help make your figures pop off the page. “An appropriate number of nicely prepared, easily interpretable, information-rich figures will emphasize the positive and can to some extent compensate for shortcomings elsewhere during review,” they write in their guide. “A series of good figures can alone tell most of the story in a paper.” They suggest a summary figure that synthesizes your main findings, and dig into the nitty-gritty of size, colour, captions and resolution.

Journal of Biogeography | 7 min read

Where I work

Workers wearing white protective suits in a clean room at the JPL NASA lab

Workers wearing white protective suits in a clean room at the JPL NASA lab

Zach Ousnamer is the integration and test engineer for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.Credit: Rocco Ceselin for Nature

Mechatronics engineer Zach Ousnamer is part of the team that built NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, Perseverance, which is due to launch this month or next. The mission aims to seek signs of ancient life, and will be the first to return samples from the red planet. Since February, Ousnamer has been based at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, helping to put the finishing touches on the rover. “It’s nice to take a step back and think how we’ve sent rovers to other planets only a handful of times. It’s pretty monumental.” (Nature | 3 min read)

Arabic edition of Nature Briefing

We are launching an Arabic edition of Nature Briefing. Every week for the next six months, the Arabic edition will help you stay up to date with the latest developments and news in science.

نتعرض مؤخرًا لكمٍ هائل من الأخبار المتتالية في وقت نجد أنفسنا فيه تحت ضغوطٍ غير مسبوقة. لذا.. نطلق النسخة العربية من نشرة نيتشر الإخبارية الشهيرة، وذلك تحت عنوان “نشرة العلوم”. ولمدة ستة أشهر، ستساعدكم “نشرة العلوم” للبقاء على إطلاعٍ على أحدث التطورات والأخبار في مجال العلوم. سيعمل محررونا على تجميع أبرز القصص الإخبارية المنشورة في مختلف الإصدارات، وإرسالها إلى بريدك الإلكتروني مرة واحدة أسبوعيًا.

سَجِّل.. لتصلك نشرة العلوم الأسبوعية المجانية من نيتشر الطبعة العربية.

This week, Sir Leif of Penguinson is in the verdant chasm of Lud’s Church in England, which might have inspired the Green Chapel where Sir Gawain faced shenanigans in Arthurian legend. Can you find the penguin?

The answer will be in Monday’s e-mail, all thanks to Briefing photo editor and penguin wrangler Tom Houghton.

Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing

With contributions by Smriti Mallapaty

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