June 9, 2005 1:28 PM   Subscribe

BrainMeta "is a community site that was established for the purpose of accelerating the development of neuroscience through web-based initiatives, which include the development, implementation and support of a wide range of neuroinformatics tools, services, and databases. BrainMeta also functions as an internet hub for fostering communication between individuals involved with the neurosciences." [Via Mind Hacks.]
posted by homunculus (5 comments total)
Also via MH: BrainBlog.
posted by homunculus at 1:30 PM on June 9, 2005

Can they help me get this damned tentacle out of my brain?
posted by brain_drain at 2:17 PM on June 9, 2005

Seems more like a neurophilosophical initiative, rather than a neurological one.

Still interesting, nonetheless.
posted by Gyan at 2:51 PM on June 9, 2005

Not to put the thing down, but I don't really see it as a useful tool for furthering neuroscience research. Imagine reading Science or Nature or Neuroscience or any other scientific journal, with anyone and everyone allowed to add content and comment. We're talking articles about bioengineering followed by articles about inarticulate uninformed rambling and message board spamming. It would be distracting, and the real science would get lost in the shuffle. A journal discussing neuropharmacology for example would end up inundated with people trying to get a line on a new recreational drug, rather than researchers trying to openly discuss physiological or behavioral effects. From what I can see much of that is occurring on this website.

For Metafilter, that's great - community forums are a nice way to discuss the world. For actually getting any work done, meh. I have enough distractions as it is. It isn't worth slogging through the dross there to find anything of value. If I wanted article headlines scraped from PubMed, I'd search PubMed in the first place. As for the full-text stuff posted there, hell... it's either unpublishable or violating somebody's copyright, or it wouldn't be there. Nobody does research for free, and nobody trying to gain tenure would point to an article posted to a publicly open message board as proof that they're doing good work. Publish or perish, peer-reviewed journals only, or nobody will believe your results. If nobody believes your results, your research won't get funded. That's just the way it is. I sure as hell don't want to buy antibodies out of pocket... hundreds of dollars for 0.5 ml of solution that expires in several months? Right. I'll get my checkbook out.

Unless there was some sort of aggressive moderation, peer review of new members, etc. this website won't be taken seriously by enough people in the field to catch on. Without some research heavies participating, there's no legitimacy to it. Yes, peer review of research can at times suck, and it can get political, and there are some dirty tricks pulled here and there. This isn't the way to fix it though.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:43 AM on June 10, 2005

No, it's really not a good tool for furthering neuroscience research, but I don't think that's exactly the intention. To me it comes off more as a really interesting resource for neuroscience geeks and I think that there's definately a place for that. Not everyone has the time/resources/motivation to become a professional neuroscience researcher and publish in journals, but that doesn't mean they can't be involved with it and learn about it. This seems like an ideal place for amateurs to discuss things; and I'm sure some professionals will be willing to put up with increased "noise" (this is the internet) for the ability to share information in a more relaxed environment. So no, it doesn't have the rigors and trails, the peer review or large industry backers of professional neuroscience, but it's not supposed to - it's not a replacement; it's an alternative.
posted by nTeleKy at 9:04 AM on June 10, 2005

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