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This Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journal Has Editors Who Are Still in Elementary School

Like grown-up scientific journals, Frontiers’ young editors must review manuscripts, complete with figures and citations, for clarity and topic value

smithsonian.com

Photo: Martin Cron

The editors of Frontiers for Young Minds, a new scientific journal, do the same work as most editors—they review manuscripts, complete with figures and citations, for clarity and topic value. But in this case, the editors’ primary duty is to make sure the work will be discernible to young readers, Fast Company says. And these editors would know: many range in age from 5 to 16.

Frontiers was founded by UC Berkley professor Robert Knight, who started the journal as a means of getting kids involved in and excited about science at as young an age as possible. Knight acts as editor-in-chief, and an international board of grown-up neuroscientists serve as advisors and manuscript authors. Each manuscript is reviewed by both a young author and a dedicated mentor.

Frontiers for Young Minds has published 15 articles so far, investigating topics such as the neuroscience of making friends and visual perception of different types of animals. Here’s an excerpt from one, edited by an 8-year-old, about the role of sleep:

When you don’t sleep enough, well, duh, you’re tired. And aside from the bad health effects of not enough sleep (people who don’t sleep enough tend to eat more and unhealthier foods, gain weight, and get sick!), you also don’t learn as well the next day and have trouble paying attention. Its almost as if your brain is too full to absorb any more information. For some information learned the day before, its like you’ve missed the opportunity to press the ‘save’ button – its gone forever. For other learning, you just don’t show the normal sleep-dependent improvement (like for that piano piece you practiced). You are also more emotionally reactive to both pleasant and unpleasant events, which can lead you to feel stressed-out, yell at friends and make bad decisions, based more on emotion than reason.

As for the editorial team, they seem to be taking their responsibilities seriously. As 14-year-old Caleb from Canada warns in his biography, “Woe betide the contributor who falls under my editorial pen.”

More from Smithsonian.com:

Scientific Publishing Can’t Be Free  
Men Commit Scientific Fraud Much More Frequently Than Women 

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