I just submitted my first paper to the new open-access journal, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. This journal is part of a constellation of "first-tier" specialty neuroscience "Frontiers in" journals (Frontiers in... Molecular Neuroscience; ...Neuroanatomy; ...Systems Neuroscience; etc.). Prominent articles from these specialty journals are selected for review-style elaboration in the "second-tier" Frontiers in Neuroscience journal. The choice of the term "second-tier" is unfortunate. It implies a less-than-top-notch journal, when in fact the intention is that Frontiers in Neuroscience will be the flagship journal that reaches the broadest audience and has the highest impact.
I'm usually very hesitant about submitting papers to new untested journals, and in general I think we need new journals just about as bad as we need more greenhouse gases, but I'm on the editorial board of this one and despite my inclusion :-) the board is very strong. So Corianne Rogalsky and I decided to give it a go with her paper on Broca's area, sentence comprehension, and working memory. Unlike most submission/editorial/review processes, I LOVED the experience with Frontiers. We submitted on August 10, and as you can see from my previous post, the paper is already accepted -- and most of that delay time was due to us working on some of the reviewers' suggested analyses of the dataset. So they are fast. The review process itself is interactive, which I find very cool and useful. Reviewers post their comments online and you respond to each issue, also online, in a response field. When you have responded to all comments, you click "done" and this notifies the editor and reviewers that you have responded. They can then reply to your responses if needed, and so on. Russ Poldrack handled the editorial work very efficiently and constructively.
Who knows whether the Frontiers journals will continue their early success, but they are off to a great start. I suppose it is up to us. If we submit to and read a journal regularly, it will flourish. Based on my initial experience, I think this is one journal I'd like to see survive.
Any update on your opinion of Frontiers? I find it difficult to review for (nearly impossible to reject a paper, even very bad ones) and difficult to justify paying for publishing in it, as it essentially feels like buying a "peer-reviewed" publication. If the sentence "Well, you could always publish it in Frontiers" feels accurate, that's a problem.
Completely unimpressed now. I agree with you.
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