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Brain Projects Think Big

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The article “Brain Projects Think Big”  was published October 13, 2013, the early stages of the Human Brain Project . The goal was to provide a younger audience with an understanding of the Human Brain Project. The project is primarily a systematic cataloguing of everything that is known about the brain, as well as, the development of ingenious experimental and theoretical methods to probe the brain, and put together all learnings into a computer model of the brain. 


Neuroscientists Idan Segev and computer scientist Felix Schürmann shared information about the brain to younger audience ages 8-15 on the Frontiers for Young Minds – Understanding Neuroscience journal.
Frontiers for Young Minds was launched in 2013 as a non-profit scientific journal written by scientists and reviewed by a board of young students. Today, it has five sections: (1) Understanding Neuroscience, (2) Understanding Astronomy and Space Science, (3) Understanding Biodiversity, (4) Understanding Health, and (5) Understanding the Earth and its Resources.
As a journal, Frontiers for Young Minds provides a platform for young people to work with scientists, ask informed, critical questions and give feedback. By working directly with scientists, Frontiers for Young Minds ensures that the published article is relevant scientific research. By working directly with young students, Frontiers for Young Minds helps foster curiosity in and out of the classroom and engage the next generation of citizens and scientists.

What & How?

The Human Brain Project used traditional dissemination (Markram 2006, Druckmann et al. 2012). Publishing a child-friendly version of the Human Brain Project on the Frontiers for Young Minds platform was an innovative approach to reach a different audience.


Dissemination started at the same time as the launch of the Human Brain Project. As a next phase, the project plans to open a “brain corner” in many science museums worldwide to share updates and important results.

Relation to Open Science

Brain Project Thinks Big was reviewed by a young student, mentored by a scientist with experience in peer review to guide the peer review process.  It is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). PDF download is available.  The count of abstract views, full-text views and PDF download is available online.


Frontiers for Young Minds produced the videos, and media materials at a low cost (<5,000 EUR). For the same effort, external graphics design, web design and video production, a researcher will spend the same (< 5,000 EUR).


As of this writing, the count of 20 abstract views, 117 full-text views, 222 PDF downloads. The article has been accessed primarily in the United States and China.

Figure 1: Distribution of readers of the article “Brain Projects Think Big"


From a gender demographic, two male scientists wrote the article - Idan Segev, and Felix Schürmann. It was reviewed by an 11-year old female student, named Abby.
The Frontiers for Young Minds Editorial Board has a 73% to 27% female to male ratio. The Chief Editor is male. Two out of six Specialty Chief Editors are female, and seventeen out of nineteen Associate Chief Editors are women.


Method: Focus on teaching

Brain Project Thinks Big was the inaugural issue of the Frontiers for Young Minds in Neuroscience. Seventy other articles in Neuroscience are now available on the platform for younger audience to read and enjoy.
The section of Frontiers for Young Minds - Understanding Neuroscience includes articles about the brain, how the brain changes over time, techniques used to study the brain, aspects of the brain that relate to behaviour and performance, and why the brain developed in the ways that it did. Understanding Neuroscience wants to provide a chance for the next generation to think critically about the organ that makes it possible for them to think in the first place.


For a more extensive analysis of the “Brain Projects Think Big” case study, please follow the link: http://openup-h2020.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/OpenUP_D4.1_Practices-evaluation-and-mapping.-Methods-tools-and-user-needs.pdf

Additional Info

  • I am a: Young scholar, Researcher, Project manager, Funder, Policy maker, Open Science advocate, Publisher
  • Domain: Scholarly Dissemination, Open Science
  • Type of resource: Case studies
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