Remembering Roots, NQ Continues to Grow
The Society for Neuroscience’s member newsletter dates back to the birth of the organization itself. The first Neuroscience Newsletter was published in April of 1970 with front-page articles about important SfN business: election results naming Vernon B. Mountcastle as the Society’s first elected president (to succeed founding President Ed Perl), a progress report about the rapidly expanding Society, and an overview of the Council’s January meeting.
This year, the newsletter has reached a new milestone in its long life within the Society, transitioning to a digital format that offers exciting new opportunities for enhanced content, such as videos, slideshows, and interactive elements.
Although the newsletter has evolved over the years, it has continued to perform its original function of keeping SfN members and the neuroscience community informed about important developments in the Society and across the field. According to the “History of SfN” essay, the SfN Council created the Neuroscience Newsletter, now known as Neuroscience Quarterly (NQ), to serve as “the adhesive cementing long-distance and transdisciplinary ties in between the annual gatherings.” The newsletters from the Society’s formative years provide “the single most extensive chronicle of SfN’s early struggles and aspirations,” the essay states.
Louise Hanson Marshall, who played an instrumental role in SfN’s founding, serving as secretary-treasurer for the first acting Council and as a writer and editor for the newsletter from 1970-77, declared the publication as the “conservator of the founding spirit of the Society.” In her editorial introducing the goals and scope of newsletter, she wrote, “As a healthy organism, the Newsletter aims to survive through its capacity to perceive and respond to the environment.”
As Marshall predicted, over time, the newsletter has continued to develop and evolve to match the interests of SfN members. By 2000, the newsletter had expanded its articles beyond the topics of Council action and annual meeting updates. Topics then included “Publishing Pointers” written by The Journal of Neuroscience senior editors and professionals in the field, “Legislative Updates” that covered the latest NIH, NSF, and other funding bills that could affect science research, and “Neuroscience Around the Globe,” a segment that discussed research organizations in Britain and Africa, among other countries.
More recently, issues of NQ contain a wide array of articles, including exclusive Q&As with leaders in the neuroscience field and in scientific organizations around the world; the Message from the President, allowing members to hear what SfN leadership hopes to accomplish within the organization and the field; and Inside Neuroscience, a scientific series discussing advances in the field.
NQ's transformation this year into an online format makes it easier for members to access and share articles, videos, and slideshows, as well as provides more opportunities for members to interact online with SfN’s many resources.
The new digital newsletter, while bringing SfN members new and expanded content and features, will remain true to the history and tradition that defined the Society’s first member-focused publication. NQ will continue to focus on issues of importance to the Society and the field. We encourage you to explore its contents and contact us if you have thoughts and suggestions for upcoming editions.