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By Jon Tennant, Imperial College London

Access to research is limited worldwide by the high cost of subscription journals, which force readers to pay for their content.

The use of scientific research in new studies, educational material and news is often restricted by these publishers, who require authors to sign over their rights and then control what is done with the published work. In response, a movement that would allow free access to information and no restrictions on reuse – termed open access – is growing.

By Helen King, The Open University

It wasn’t that long ago that it was believed that regular periods were essential for women's health and in their absence, a loss of blood through another orifice was a fair substitute.

In a classical Greek text linked to Hippocrates, the Aphorisms, it was written that “a nosebleed is a good thing if the menstrual period is suppressed”. So too was vomiting blood. And these beliefs lasted in western Europe until the middle of the 19th century.

But what was the theory behind what now seems a pretty alarming set of beliefs?

1. A build up of blood caused illness



By Neil Morris, University of Leeds

Over the past couple of years, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have taken the academic world by storm. Despite much debate about whether the idea of running free online courses for everyone is both a good and cost-effective idea in the long-run, MOOCs are teaching universities valuable lessons about how students want to learn.

By Tanya Hill, University of Melbourne 

Have you ever considered our cosmic address? It’s a fun device I’ve often used to help students get a grasp on our place in the universe.

For example, I work at the Melbourne Planetarium, 2 Booker St, Spotswood, Victoria, Australia, Earth, Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Group, Virgo Cluster, Local Supercluster, the Universe.

By Barbara Sahakian, University of Cambridge and Muzaffer Kaser, University of Cambridge

By Patrik Jones, Imperial College London

Converting renewable energy into electricity is one thing; converting it into fuel is quite another. The vast majority of global energy demand is for fuel, and a renewable source could help us heat our houses and travel efficiently long into the future. It might even mean we could avoid the conflicts that will arise while competing for the last remaining fossil fuels.