Top articles from Brain and Behavior Issue 2.4

Brain and Behavior issue 2 4Brain and Behavior has published its fourth issue of the year.
The journal publishes high quality research across neurology, neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry. 

Highlighted below are two articles from this issue selected by Editor-in-Chief Andrei Alexandrov:


purple_lock_open  Pharmacological evidence that D-aspartate activates a current distinct from ionotropic glutamate receptor currents in Aplysia californica
Stephen L. Carlson, Andrew T. Kempsell and Lynne A. Fieber
Abstract: D-Aspartate (D-Asp) activates a Na+ and K+ current of unknown identity independent of L-glutamate (L-Glu) in neurons of Aplysia californica. Portions of D-Asp currents were blocked by L-Glu antagonists including kynurenate and APV, but L-Glu currents were unaffected by APV, and showed greater block by kynurenate, suggesting that D-Asp and L-Glu may act at different sites. The mixed pharmacological results as well as an asymmetrical desensitization by D-Asp of L-Glu currents suggest that D-Asp channels in Aplysia are not uniformly characteristic of any known agonist-associated channel type.

purple_lock_open  The relationship between nerve conduction velocity and fiber morphology during peripheral nerve regeneration
Masayoshi Ikeda and Yoshinori Oka
Abstract: The regression relation between fiber diameter and internodal length was not a sensitive index of recovery. MCV and mean fiber diameter were the most sensitive indices of functional recovery during sciatic nerve regeneration.

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For the Perplexed GOAL Reader: Reaching for the Reachable

For the perplexed reader who is wondering about what on earth all the current to and fro on GOAL is about:

1. Gratis Open Access (OA) means free online access to peer-reviewed journal articles.

2. Libre OA means free online access to peer-reviewed journal articles + certain re-use rights (often CC-BY).

3. Green OA means OA provided by authors self-archiving their peer-reviewed final drafts free for all online (either in the author’s institutional repository or website or in an institution-external central repository)

4. Gold OA means OA provided by authors publishing in OA journals that provide free online access to their articles (Gratis or Libre), often at the cost of an author publication fee.

5. Global OA today stands at about 20% of yearly journal article output, though this varies by discipline, with some higher (particle physics near 100%) and some lower (chemistry among the lowest).

6. About two thirds of the global 20% OA is Green and one third is Gold. Almost all of it is Gratis rather than Libre.

7. Institutions and funders that mandate Green OA have much higher Green OA rates (70%+), but only if they have effective Green OA mandates — and only a tiny proportion of the world’s institutions and funders mandate OA as yet have Green OA mandates at all.

8. Ineffective Green OA mandates are the ones that require self-archiving only if and when the publisher endorses self-archiving: 60% of journals endorse immediate Green OA self-archiving; 40% ask for embargoes of varying in length from 6-12 months to 5 years or indefinitely.

9. Effective Green OA mandates (ID/OA: Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access) are the ones that require immediate deposit of all articles, but if the publisher has an OA embargo, access to the deposit can be set as “Closed Access” during the allowable embargo period (preferably no more than 6 months).

10. During any embargo, the institutional repository has an automated email-eprint-request button that allows users to request a copy for research purposes with one click, and allows the author to comply with one click. (This is not OA but “Almost-OA”.)

11. The rationale for ID/OA + the Almost-OA button is to ensure that 100% of papers are immediately deposited and accessible for research purposes, not just the 60% that have publisher endorsement.

12. The expectation is that once ID/OA is mandated globally by 100% of institutions and funders, not only will it provide 60% immediate-OA plus 40% Almost-OA, but it will hasten the end of OA embargoes, as the power and utility of OA become evident, familiar and indispensable to all researchers, as authors and users.

There are additional details about optimal mandates. (Deposit should be designated the sole procedure for submitting publications for institutional performance review, and funders should mandate convergent institutional deposit rather than divergent institution-external deposit.)

And the further expectation is that once Gratis Green OA is mandated by institutions and funders globally, it will hasten the advent of Libre OA (CC-BY) and Gold OA.

All the frustration and complaints being vented in the recent GOAL postings are with the lack of OA. But frustration will not bring OA. Only mandates will. And the optimal mandate is ID/OA, even if it does not confer instant global OA.

First things first.

Don’t let the unreachable best get in the way of the reachable better.

Grasp what is already within reach.

Stevan Harnad