Letter from the Editor...
The Neuro-Cloud Textbook project is the first of its kind, and I am excited that you have the opportunity to learn about the story behind its inception. The idea came to me when I was working as a teaching assistant for an Introduction to Neuroscience course at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011. We were instructed complete an independent project that related to the teaching of neuroscience, and I wanted to rope my students into writing an interactive 21st century textbook that could be used by generations to come, free of charge. Sadly, the undergraduates were less excited about this idea than I was, and it got put in the parking lot.
In the fall of 2012, the time was right to pick the project out of the queue with a new twist. The textbook would now be crowd-sourced to volunteers across the globe with participation being the only requirement for contribution. We took to the internet to recruit any and all who were interested in giving back to education, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. As I write this, over 30 neuroscientists at different stages in their education are writing, editing and providing media content to create the first ever crowd-sourced open textbook.
A call for disruptive innovation in science publishing with a new open data-sharing platform for the life sciences
Editors Note: This paper was the final manuscript published through the NaturePrecedings OA Pre-print server and is viewable here.
“A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect.”
On April 3rd, 2012 Nature Precedings, Nature Publishing Group’s experiment in free pre-print publishing was shut down and no longer accepts submissions. According to the Nature Precedings website it was created in 2007 as “a place for researchers to share documents, including presentations, posters, white papers, technical papers, supplementary findings, and non-peer-reviewed manuscripts.” It was designed to “provide a rapid means for scientists to share preliminary findings, disseminate emerging results, solicit community feedback, and claim priority over discoveries.” It was designed in a way to “make such material easy to archive, share and cite.” Now that Nature Precedings is no more, a new disruptive open data-sharing platform (ODSP) for the life sciences is needed. Based, in part, by the model Nature Precedings established. Here I propose 5 qualities of an ideal ODSP and outline 10 benefits to scientists for embracing such a potentially disruptive model.
By Andrew Varnell
Several years have passed since the last major therapeutic drug has been approved for the treatment of depression. The latest treatment may have a nefarious background, but early results suggest that ketamine may be the best new drug for depression.
The shady origins of ketamine
Ketamine was derived in the 1960’s from PCP as an anesthetic. It gained popularity in the veterinary community as an animal tranquilizer. Ketamine, or “Special K” in these communities, became a popular party drug used in clubs in the early 1970’s. Due to its complex synthesis, ketamine is typically obtained illegally through doctors or veterinarians. People abuse ketamine because it produces dissociative hallucinations, much like acid or mushrooms. One unique property of ketamine is that the effects generally only last for 1-2 hours, while other hallucinogenic drugs can last up to 12 hours.
A common question in the undergraduate neuroscience sphere is, “How do I get into graduate school?” In this field, an advanced degree is required for most careers, but how does one go about obtaining said degree? We put the question to some admissions directors to get the inside scoop.
A graduate application breaks down to three major components: your undergraduate transcript, research experience, and GRE scores.
This seems like a no-brainer (no pun intended), but a major part of your application comes down to the courses you took during your undergraduate tenure. While most graduate schools do not require that you completed a major specific to neuroscience, most do want to see that you have a strong scientific background in either biology or chemistry. If you did not major in a science area, consider taking basic science core courses such as chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, statistics, calculus, physics, and any offered neuroscience course. This will also give you a good idea as to whether or not neuroscience is worth pursuing. Additionally, you can find free online classes that cover courses like neuroscience.
By Mark Alsberg
Learn more about addiction here
The non-profit Phoenix Multisport, has been in the news recently for helping recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. Phoenix was founded by individuals in recovery and is based around the idea that getting out and having fun can help addicts stay clean. They offer free activities such as hiking, climbing, running, swimming for anyone committed to living a sober lifestyle. Phoenix has been surprisingly successful compared to many projects in the past concocted to help support addicts, but why? Exercise has been known in the past to release neurotransmitters similar to those released by the same illicit drugs addicts use, and now research is providing more answers as to how Phoenix may be so successful.