This year in our Open Science Stars series, we’ve heard from researchers in Europe and Asia and their experiences of the publishing world, as well as from funders like the Gates Foundation. Today, we’ve interviewed Jonathan Peelle, a cognitive psychologist working in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University in Saint Louis. Jonathan recently built a collection on Neuroimaging Methods (ways to look inside your brain..), at ScienceOpen, so we decided it would be nice to turn the tables and pick his brain instead to learn about his research background and interests in open science!
- Hi Jonathan! Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a bit about your research interests?
My research is focused on the neuroscience of language processing, and how sensory and cognitive systems interact to enable communication. We are interested in questions like:
- How can we understand people we’ve never heard before?
- Why is having a conversation in noise harder for some people than for others?
- How similar is brain activity across a group of people?
My lab spends a lot of time studying people with hearing loss and cochlear implants because of the profound effects these have on sensory processing. We rely on converging evidence from behavioral studies, structural MRI, and functional neuroimaging.
I’ve always found reading lists put together by other people to be very useful, especially if I’m new to a topic. I wanted to put together a list of articles that have informed my own thinking about neuroimaging methods to be able to pass on to students and others interested in the topic. This past semester I taught a class on neuroimaging methods so the timing seemed perfect to put together a list of papers.
I wanted to put together a list of articles that have informed my own thinking about neuroimaging methods to be able to pass on to students and others interested in the topic.
- What role do you think collections can play for students as an educational resource?
There are so many published papers it can be overwhelming to learn about a topic, and difficult to know where to start. It’s really valuable to have a curated list of articles that cover the most important parts of a topic (at least from the perspective of one or more editors!). Having read papers from a collection to get background, it’s always possible to read more and expand in any number of directions.
- What do you hope to achieve with your collection?
It’s impossible to summarize an entire field, but I hope the papers in this collection expose readers to a good sample of the main methodological issues faced in neuroimaging, and some of the historical approaches to solving these problems (some of which are still used, others of which have evolved).
I hope the papers in this collection expose readers to a good sample of the main methodological issues faced in neuroimaging
- How do you think different groups will interact with it? (students/researchers/interested public etc)
Because this is somewhat of a technical topic I imagine that it will be of most use to students and researchers doing human brain imaging, although I’d be thrilled if it’s of interest to a broader audience. For students, who are my main audience, I hope it can be a resource as they learn methods topic-by-topic. I expect experienced researchers will know most of the articles in the collection, but I hope I might be able to point them towards a few new ones, and give a sense of my approach to thinking about neuroimaging (for example, I’ve included articles that support data sharing).
- Do you think collections are useful in promoting ‘open science’ in general?
Providing links to open access full text, where available, is a great feature of collections and can help readers identify open content. For future collections I could definitely see limiting the included articles to only open ones, which would ensure anyone could have access to the whole collection regardless of whether they have an academic affiliation or journal access. (But, it was nice I didn’t have to do this—a lot of the key neuroimaging papers are older and there aren’t good open access alternatives.)
Fantastic, thank you for your insight here, Jonathan! We look forward to seeing your collection evolve, and hope that it becomes a valuable educational resource for researchers and students alike.
Jonathan Peelle is an assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University in Saint Louis. He obtained his PhD in neuroscience from Brandeis University, and went on for postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging in the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, England. Jonathan’s research investigates the neuroscience of speech comprehension, aging, and hearing impairment using a combination of behavioral and brain imaging methods. More information on Jonathan’s research can be found on his lab webpage at peellelab.org.