Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Happy Birthday Nature Neuroscience

The review journal Nature Neuroscience turned ten this month, and to celebrate, has made access to the most highly cited papers from each year of its existence, as well its top-ten most cited papers overall, freely available until the end of May. (Update: Unfortunately, something's not right here, I just checked whether I could access these papers without using my subscriber account and I couldn't get past the pay-wall).

Among its most cited papers is a study of psychological interest, published in 2004, which uncovered the biological mechanisms underlying the effect of a rat mother's rearing style on its pups future sensitivity to stress. Specifically, pups who are licked and groomed more by their mothers are less sensitive to stress in adulthood. The mechanism for this was found to be epigenetic - the grooming style changes the expression of a key gene in the pup's hippocampus. Epigentics is a hot area of research in neuroscience and psychology, as discussed by Mind Hacks.

Also of note is this observation made by the Nature Neuroscience birthday editorial regarding how the research papers the journal receives for publication have changed over the last few years:

"Early on, it was straightforward to assign any paper as being molecular, cellular, systems or cognitive. Recently, with researchers determining the cognitive effects of gene alleles or the cellular basis of functional imaging, it has become difficult to distinguish one field from another. We welcome this increase in interdisciplinary approaches and continue to encourage submissions from all areas of neuroscience."
The editors also mention that their journal has joined a "neuroscience peer review consortium to reduce the workload of referees by allowing their reviews to be used at multiple journals". I've not heard of this idea before: I wonder, does such a consortium exist in psychology? If not, should one be set up?
Link to Nature Neuroscience.
Link to paper on effects of rat mothers' rearing style on pups' response to stress.
Link to list of most highly cited papers from last ten years (access should be free until the end of May).
Link to Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium (should psychology follow suit?).

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

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