SfN Journals: Disseminating Research to the Field and the Public
This image provides a sagittal view of white matter fiber tracts in the human brain obtained using Diffusion Spectral Imaging, a technique explored by the NIH Human Connectome Project and advanced by BRAIN Initiative projects. The work from which the image originated was from the lab of BRAIN Initiative-funded investigator Lawrence Wald, PhD (MGH/Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging). Setsompop et al., 2013, Neuroimage, 80:220–33. The image was provided by NIH, one of the federal agencies supporting the BRAIN Initiative.
Like newspapers and magazines, the reach of a scientific journal once could be described by the size of its circulation: Having your work printed more times and distributed to more libraries and academic departments increased the chances it would be seen and read by your peers. Today, however, readers may arrive at a journal article from many different sources — search engines, reference managers and scholarly databases, news articles, and social media among them.
JNeurosci began experimenting with online publication in 1996. Since then, the journal has transitioned from its original monthly print issues to biweekly and then weekly publication to accommodate the approximately 900 papers it now publishes each year. Continuing its tradition of innovation, in late 2016, JNeurosci joined its online-only sibling eNeuro on a new web platform that enables accepted articles to be published more rapidly. Together SfN’s journals are well positioned to take advantage of new ways to publish, read, and share research. By leveraging their relationship to the Society and with authors and research institutions around the world, JNeurosci and eNeuro are able to maximize the visibility of the research they publish.
Reaching the World's Largest Audience of Neuroscientists
More than 30,000 scientists studying the brain and the nervous system receive SfN’s biweekly enewsletter, Neuroscience Nexus. This digital newsletter is an accessible venue for communicating journal articles to the field. Each issue of Nexus includes brief, plain-language summaries of papers recently published in JNeurosci and eNeuro in addition to highlighting a prominent news article about research in the journals. SfN also regularly distributes an email highlighting new research from eNeuro for SfN members and authors who have published in either of SfN’s journals. This electronic table of contents generates additional readership of eNeuro papers.
The Scientific Research section of Neuronline, SfN members’ platform for learning and discussion, is another venue where scientists at all career levels can learn about research published in the journals. Selected authors are regularly invited to prepare an undergraduate-level summary of their published JNeurosci or eNeuro paper. Readers can browse the latest findings and implications of research reported in the journals through the Monthly Research Roundups. SfN members can also discuss this content in the Neuronline Community forum, either by starting their own conversations or by joining in on a Journal Club discussion, which often features an article from one of SfN’s publications. Neuronline now offers nonmembers access to five articles every 30 days, further expanding the audience for these features.
Articles from both journals are shared with the broader scientific community as recommendations to readers of more than 2,500 scholarly publications that are a part of the TrendMD network. In articles from participating journals, readers see a “We Recommend” widget in the lower right hand corner of the page that links to papers relevant to the one they are reading. This service uses personalized algorithms, similar to those used by Amazon and Netflix, to deliver recommendations directly within articles. TrendMD brings in, on average, an additional 10,000 page views to the scientific articles in SfN’s journals every month, increasing the exposure and reach of published articles.
Recent analyses of science shared on Facebook and scientists on Twitter point to social media as an increasingly important venue for scientific exchange, both within and beyond the academic community. To this end, SfN has been steadily increasing the scientific content from JNeurosci and eNeuro it shares on its social media channels. The official @SfNJournals Twitter account as well as @SfNTweets, which reaches an audience of members, scientists, and journalists, shares nearly every article published in the journals. Scientific research summaries and monthly research roundups published on Neuronline also are shared via these channels with all posts linking to the original article, further expanding the reach of these articles.
Sharing Science With the Press
A news article about the eNeuro paper Early-Age Running Enhances Activity of Adult-Born Dentate Granule Neurons following Learning in Rats appeared in The New York Times on September 5, 2017
SfN also has steadily increased its attention to press coverage of papers published in its journals. In May 2017, SfN stepped up its media relations efforts by alerting science reporters of forthcoming papers in advance of online publication. The Society prepares and distributes Weekly Journal Highlights (WJH) under embargo — concise summaries of select JNeurosci and eNeuro articles that distill the main findings and implications of the papers into a news-style brief — to reach journalists. Sharing highlights and papers under media embargo with journalists increases the news value of a paper, making it more attractive to journalists who work under the pressure of weekly deadlines and use the embargo period to conduct additional research or interviews to prepare stories to coincide with the publish time of the papers. In addition to sharing them with a growing number of journalists, SfN further promotes WJH-summarized papers on the global science news service EurekAlert!, operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, allowing research shared on this platform to reach an audience of 12,000 reporters and nearly 1 million monthly visitors. SfN also uses EurekAlert! to notify public information officers (PIOs) at more than 3,000 universities, medical centers, and other research organizations when a JNeurosci or eNeuro paper from an author affiliated with their institution is accepted. These advance notifications allow PIOs to prepare press releases and multimedia about the paper to complement SfN’s own research promotion efforts.
Monitoring Conversations About Research
Keeping track of all of the online attention a paper receives can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Once a paper in either SfN journal has been published online, authors can view its usage and what people are saying about it under the “Info & Metrics” tab on the article page. From there authors can see how many times readers have accessed the abstract or full text or downloaded the PDF version. This tab also allows readers to click through to their article’s dedicated “Altmetric details page,” which shows how widely the paper has been shared in the news, cited on Wikipedia, shared on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, saved on the reference manager Mendeley, and more.
Is there another tool you wish our journals provided? The publishing space is ever-evolving, and SfN regularly explores new technologies that enhance your experience as both an author and a reader. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for information about press promotion or to email@example.com or eNeuro@sfn.org for more about publishing with SfN’s journals.