Science in Society Archive

Announcing TheSparc

A Floating Knowledge Archive for the Survival of People & Planet


New from TheSparc

23rd April 2014

TheSparc has a comprehensive database dating from 1986 to the present day on the toxicological, epidemiological, oncological and ecological effects of both pesticides and genetically modified foods on human and environmental health. 2014 saw new publications detailing the link of glyphosate herbicides to a deadly disease epidemic in Sri Lanka, prompting a partial ban of the herbicide (Jayasumana et al., 2014). Similarly, a US study further confirms the widespread presence of glyphosate in the urine of both humans and animals (Krüger et al., 2014), highlighting the extent of our exposure to the most widely used herbicide in the world and the need to acknowledge the evidence of its adverse health effects. Consequently, we also include the important study by Séralini et al, published in 2012 and unilaterally retracted by the journal editor a year later, on the long-term toxicity of a commercialised genetically modified maize and Roundup herbicide.

A new clinical study published in 2014 exposes the limitations of the Tamiflu antiviral flu that was stockpiled by governments at huge costs in preparation for flu epidemics. A four year battle to obtain industry data on the drug was finally won, and the data analysed and presented in the BMJ by Jefferson et al, exposing a lack of efficacy for the drugs as well as serious side-effects.

Nuclear energy has come under the radar with the melt-down of the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi plant in Japan, with studies reporting the increase of congenital hyperthyroidism in the US (Mangano et al., 2012) and the ecological warnings of its effects including genetic and physiological damage to butterflies (Hiyama et al., 2012). A recent fully referenced review is given by Mae-Wan Ho in Fukushima Crisis Goes Global (2014).

Public access to scientific information and the scientists’ ability to make the information generally available to the public are both under threat simultaneously as tremendous opportunities are opening up to counter the threat. TheSparc has been created to take full advantage of the opportunities for distributing scientific information and promoting public access.

TheSparc is a web resource that provides free open access for scientists and the general public to scientific papers important for the survival of people and planet, and enables authors to make such papers available promptly to the widest readership. It is a knowledge archive in the sense of being a systematic collection of papers classified by subject areas and searchable by subject areas, authors, and key words. It is ‘floating’ because the papers are stored on other websites, to which TheSparc provides title, author(s), abstract, key words, and link to the full paper.

The acronym is chosen to resonate with spark (electric), arc (connection), ark (for survival) and archive (systematic knowledge); S for survival and science, P for people and planet

TheSparc is supported by a Founding Team with dozens of advisors from all over the world including eminent scientists and leaders from other sectors of civil society, who will help develop and improve the site.

Article first published 23/04/14

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There are 2 comments on this article so far. Add your comment above.

Brian Sandle Comment left 27th April 2014 16:04:48, if you have an academic email address for a log in, is where some authors offer their work free. For example: "Analysis of chiral amino acids in conventional and transgenic maize" (Anal Chem. 2007, 79, 5071-5077) gives a table showing that corn line PR33P66-Bt has about half the D-Arg to L-Arg and twice the D-Ser to L-Ser percentages compared to non-Bt PR33P66.

Ron Green Comment left 22nd May 2014 16:04:21
I thought this is excellent & so easy to use compared with other sites.