Spirited Discussions (UMass NSB)

Spirited Discussions (UMass NSB) The official monthly meet-up for UMass NSB graduate students! Nerds shouting about Neuroscience over food and drink - what could be better?! Spirited Discussions is an informal group dedicated to encouraging lively discussions of current controversies and interesting topics from across Neuroscience over drinks and snacks.

Past topics have been as specific as debating what the kinship theory of genomic imprinting has to say about cortical development, and as broad as discussing modernized alternatives to the journal model in a digital world. A short review article will be linked here ahead of each meet-up. If you didn't have time to read the paper but still want to attend, please do! This is not a high-pressure debate team, we're just trying to have some science-related fun. Discussion of the topic usually lasts for about the first hour, at which point things devolve to a bunch of nerds hanging out in a bar talking about whatever we want (and honestly, is there anything better than that?). Though the focus is NSB students, we of course welcome any and all interested friends from related fields (MCB, Psychology, OEB, Chemistry, Philosophy, Comp. Sci., Linguistics, whatever!).

Operating as usual

Spirited Discussions TONIGHT! Be there! Who wouldn't love a drink at this point in the semester?

Spirited Discussions TONIGHT! Be there! Who wouldn't love a drink at this point in the semester?

Spirited Discussions (UMass NSB)'s cover photo

Spirited Discussions (UMass NSB)'s cover photo

Spirited Discussions this Friday March 30th! Thanks to Amy for the topic this month!The Spirited Discussions topic this ...
Researchers Boycott Elsevier Journal Publisher

Spirited Discussions this Friday March 30th! Thanks to Amy for the topic this month!

The Spirited Discussions topic this month stems off a NY Times article I read in January.


Tim Gowers, a highly regarded mathematician according to the article, wrote in his blog that he is going to boycott Elsevier and not contribute to their journals, whether it be reviewing or publishing articles, in any way.


He highlights that Elsevier, a journal publishing company, is making lots of money charging poor libraries for subscriptions to journals and this success comes off the hard work of unpaid editors and reviewers. The publishing process is basically a broken system and Elsevier's policies and pricing is the worse example of the system.
Now obviously if I declare tomorrow that I am going to stop publishing in protest of the system, the world will continue to turn. But prominent scientists are starting to do it!
As scientists at the beginning of our careers, how do we navigate the emerging debate about access to knowledge and necessity of publishing our work in journals? The revolution will not be televised. What do you think about the current state of the publishing system?? DISCUSS SPIRITEDLY!
Updated from March, the list of boycotters is growing:


More than 5,700 researchers are denouncing the pricing policies of the journal publisher Elsevier in a growing furor over open access to the fruits of scientific research.

Spirited Discussions (UMass NSB)'s cover photo

Spirited Discussions (UMass NSB)'s cover photo


Our founder Carrie Mahoney gave me a list of previous topics. Check them out! We can always revisit a topic and hopefully this list will inspire new topics as well.

Summer 2011
Theories of Modular and distributed processing
Use of animals in research
"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"
Designing the next phase of scientific communication

Summer 2010
Brain size & intelligence across species
Kinship theory of genomic imprinting
Sleep: What is it, why do we need it?
Brain Doping


10 University Dr (Amherst Brewing Company)
Amherst, MA


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