What is BrainPost?
BrainPost is a weekly e-newsletter that delivers concise summaries of the latest neuroscience publications straight to your inbox, making it easier for you to stay informed.
How do I sign up?
Can I read a BrainPost newsletter before signing up?
Yes. See this week’s BrainPost here.
Who is BrainPost for?
BrainPost is for anyone who is engaging or wants to engage with neuroscience: a researcher, graduate student, undergraduate student, biotech employee, clinician, psychologist, science journalist, or science enthusiast in general. We want to make neuroscience easily available to you. BrainPost summarizes key information and the broader impact of the study, while minimizing jargon.
Don't identify with this? BrainPost provides links that explain certain diseases or research techniques so that you can learn if you want to. Plus, we provide you with the take home message in the "What's the impact?" section at the end of the post.
How is BrainPost different from neuroscience news sources?
Lots of media outlets cover science and neuroscience. BrainPost is different in the following ways:
1) How we summarize the science. BrainPost articles are concise and matter-of-fact, with links to other information in case you’re unfamiliar with a certain word or phrase. We want you to keep you informed without the hassle.
Science doesn’t have to be as confusing or time-consuming as it often seems. Each research study is like adding a tiny piece to a giant puzzle. Our goal is for BrainPost to reflect the incremental nature of science, by placing the scientific study in the context of what has already been done. We tell you what the impact is exactly, without being superfluous.
2) The type of neuroscience articles we share. Lots of studies are highlighted in the news because they are on topics that will probably generate a lot of ‘hype’. We choose studies that are high quality and are broadly relevant to the advancement of science. We don’t choose articles based on clickbait potential. Although we wish we could cover more, for now we summarize 3 key articles per week.
3) Our expertise. BrainPosts are written by neuroscientists who have expertise in communicating science. We are genuinely dedicated to helping you stay informed with the most accurate information.
How do you choose the studies you highlight?
See #2 above under ‘How is BrainPost different from neuroscience news sources?’
Will you highlight my research study?
Yes, we are happy to consider your requests. Contact us here.
Can I write for BrainPost?
Yes. We're currently seeking volunteer writers to contribute to BrainPost. Send a short blurb and your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I reach you?
Who are you and what do you know about neuroscience?
Please see our About page!
I don’t consider myself an expert in neuroscience. Will I like BrainPost?
We want to help you learn more about neuroscience. BrainPosts are written to minimize technical jargon, and links to additional information on techniques and diseases you may not be familiar with are provided. Key words and take home messages of each BrainPost are bolded. If you are just interested in the overall impact of a BrainPost you can read the "What's the science" and “What’s the impact?” sections. Please send us any feedback you have.
I’m a scientist or clinician. Will I like BrainPost?
Though we don’t include as much detail in a BrainPost as in the original scientific publication, BrainPost could help in the following ways:
Keeping you informed on key relevant articles when you are busy.
Keeping you informed outside of your particular area of expertise.
Providing an overview of topics you might want to study further (especially if they are not free or easy to access).
Helping you stay more broadly informed about science than you otherwise would.
BrainPosts are fun to read, and a fun way to start a conversation about science with others!
How does scientific publishing work?
Scientists conduct research studies and then write up the results in a ‘manuscript’ (or ‘paper’).
This manuscript is submitted to a relevant scientific journal of the scientist’s choosing to undergo a peer review process, whereby other individuals with expertise in the field review and comment on the work.
A manuscript may be accepted to the scientific journal right away or, more often than not, it undergoes revisions, meaning the author is required to address comments or criticisms made by the reviewers.
Once the manuscript is accepted, the scientific journal publishes the study in their journal, for which a new issues usually comes out once per week or month, like a magazine. If the manuscript is not ultimately accepted to a certain scientific journal, the scientist may attempt to publish the work at a different scientific journal instead.
Ultimately, scientists aim to have their manuscript accepted in a scientific journal that is considered to be high-quality in their field.
How can I tell if a journal is high quality or not?
You will notice we provide links to the website for the scientific journal where the original scientific article for each BrainPost was published. One way to measure journal quality is using a metric called ‘impact factor’, which is calculated based on how often scientists reference work published by that journal. However, whether impact factor is the best way to measure journal quality is hotly debated amongst scientists.
What is considered a ‘good’ impact factor may also vary between scientific fields. For example, a lower impact factor may still be considered ‘good’ for a small but specialized journal in a newer or smaller field of study.
How do you ensure the accuracy of each BrainPost?
We are committed to interpreting and summarizing publications to the best of our abilities. We often reach out to publication authors to ask for their feedback before posting. We always provide a direct link to the original article, and to the authors’ social media account(s) (if available), so we encourage you to ask for clarification.
Why isn’t it always free to access scientific publications using the external link you provide for each BrainPost?
Scientific journals can either be open access, meaning they are free to access, or behind a paywall, meaning they require a paid subscription in order to access their articles.
Recently, more journals have been featuring certain articles as open access. Often academic institutions (universities or colleges) subscribe to a wide variety of journals and allow students or staff to access these articles.
We wish all journals were open access. While an article itself may be behind a paywall, we encourage you to reach out to the scientists/study authors themselves to ask questions, or to ask BrainPost questions on social media.
Why do you encourage people to connect with scientists on social media and how do I do this?
Like most people, a lot of scientists like talking about themselves and their work - it’s their passion! We encourage people to contact scientists directly through social media. This gives the scientist feedback on their work and provides them with more exposure, and helps you (and everyone else) learn about and think critically about science. Lots of scientists are on Twitter, chatting about their work with each other *all day*. Why not join the conversation?
Here’s a template to ask a question on twitter:
“Hi @[name/twitter handle]. I just read a @brainpostco #BrainPost on your recent study on ____ and the ____ in [name of scientific journal]. This is a very exciting study! Do you have any thoughts on ____?”