The Neuroethics Blog is Retiring

By Karen Rommelfanger 

Dearest Readers,

I’m writing today with a heavy heart but also with some excitement for the next chapter. After ten years, the little blog that could, The Neuroethics Blog, will retire this month. Our leadership team believes that the blog has run its course. We hope in its absence the community will co-create another communication forum which we believe could be just as (if not more) fresh, inclusive, engaging, and robust. 

Since 2011, we’ve consistently been able to offer weekly and timely conversations at the intersection of neuroscience and society. More importantly, we’ve been able to feature established and future luminaries in the field from senior faculty to high school scholars. Our little blog has grown to a readership of over 100 countries, been featured in reports to US Presidents, and included in written roadmaps discussing the future of neuroethics for large-scale national level brain initiatives. While initially established as a university program blog, it has grown to be the online content partner for AJOB Neuroscience, the Society for Neuroscience, and for the International Neuroethics Society

We’ve enjoyed working with each author from doing minor editing and copyediting to assisting new writers to the space of neuroethics (whether established scholar unfamiliar with neuroethics, or aspiring neuroethics scholar) find their voices and develop their neuroethics scholarship. We’ve also created freely available readers such as The Black Mirror Reader and other best-of compilations. Our team is largely comprised of trainees from the undergraduate to graduate level hailing from diverse disciplines from the humanities to the sciences. Over the years, our internal team has worked tirelessly to ensure weekly content of the highest caliber was offered to our readers. This experience offered not only a training experience for them but also an opportunity to create new networks with new voices for the blog and for the broader neuroethics community. 

 Image by Negative Space via StockSnap
The blog’s success has reached heights beyond what I could have imagined when I started it in 2011. I started the blog, in part, to enrich my own postdoctoral experience and training in neuroethics. There really weren’t that many resources for a junior scholar to casually and quickly get a sense of the scholarship and scholars in the field. I recognized that the field was small and was (and is) still growing. There was no such online forum for neuroethics and, while our professional society was international, the annual in-person meeting was only in the US (of course, the pandemic has offered new virtual options). The online forum offered ways to build networks and share knowledge and inquiry beyond geographic boundaries. In addition, peer-reviewed manuscripts and publications were generally slower or behind a paywall. The blog aimed to be a  more nimble and open outlet for neuroethics discourse.  And, over time, the blog also offered voice  for those beyond academia, such as neurotech founders and individuals from government agencies, while aiming to highlight conversations missing from neuroethics scholarship such as those around racism and inequities in neurotechnology development.

The pandemic has given us new considerations. The blog is a labor of love and the pandemic has made that labor more challenging. Our blog received no financial resources which, on one hand, did allow us to be free of any undue influence from financial collaborators, but also made growing and expanding challenging. Blogs and online outlets have opportunities to incorporate new media, to move beyond text. In addition, what’s increasingly clear from the pandemic is how much need there is for publics to be able to critically analyze and understand evolving science. The state of the art of communication about science and its social implications has evolved to establish more robust forms of public engagement. Public engagement moves beyond broadcast style, uni-directional flows of information to forums of mutual exchange and dialogue.  We hope the next phases of online forums for neuroethics will be led by people who have the drive and resources to make such dialogue possible. 

In the coming weeks, you will hear from other members of our blog management team who will express their lessons learned and hopes for what opportunities may take shape after The Neuroethics Blog retires. While we have an evolving roster of dedicated blog editors, we are now at a point where our leadership team will soon be graduating, off to residency, graduate school, and jobs in the real world. They will collectively share their lessons learned as well as hopes for the future and for the neuroethics community. As for me, I will share my future plans in the closing post for the blog.

I sincerely thank you all for your continued readership and contributions. My personal and professional growth as well as that of our blog editing team have been directly tied to The Neuroethics Blog, for which we are forever grateful. I look forward to crossing paths with you in the future and for what collaborations the future brings.

______________


Dr. Rommelfanger is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She also Directs the Neuroethics and Neurotech Innovation Collaboratory and the Neuroethics Program Director at Emory University’s Center for Ethics. She holds editorial positions as Senior Associate Editor at the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience. Link to her lab page here: https://neuroethicslab.com




Want to cite this post?

Rommelfanger, K. (2021). The Neuroethics Blog is Retiring. The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on , from http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2021/09/the-neuroethics-blog-is-retiring.html

Comments

  1. Thanks Karen (and your team) for running this blog so effectively for a decade!

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