About Grey Matters

Grey Matters Columbia University is a literary neuroscience journal dedicated to evolving the way we approach, discuss, and research the subject area. Neuroscience has an intimidating stigma attached to the field, and our mission is to break down that intellectual barrier to permit the knowledge of neuroscience to be accessible and available to all. We wish for a conversation about neuroscience to happen as casually as a conversation about the newest blockbuster movie. Neuroscience is fun, dynamic, and universal, and our goal is to spread our passion, work, and research with you in an engaging way.

 

The Grey Matters Journal was originally founded at the University of Washington with the goal of universality and accessibility in mind. Nationwide, each chapter is led by undergraduate students who are passionate about fostering public interest, curiosity, and participation in neuroscience. Grey Matters CU strives to bring the Columbia community closer to neuroscience by facilitating the production of first and only undergraduate neuroscience publication. Our unique approach of universality, accessibility, and mentorship is designed to make Grey Matters CU a publication that anyone can contribute to and enjoy.

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Universality: An Interdisciplinary Model

The goal of Grey Matters CU is to convey the interdisciplinary nature of science, especially neuroscience, to individuals both inside and outside of the STEM field. We cover topics across a range of disciplines from linguistics to the visual arts, and plan to continue exploring this fascinating intersection of neuroscience with other academic disciplines. We both welcome and encourage all students, faculty, and community members, no matter their areas of study and work, to engage with the magazine. We aim to forge a membership and readership community that reflects the intellectual diversity of Columbia University and New York City at large.

 
 
 
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Accessibility: Neuroscience for All

We seek to produce a journal that is accessible and available to all. We write to a level such that anybody with a high school background in biology can understand our articles. We include dynamic and colorful artwork that not only complements but also helps to illuminate the associated writing. We make each issue available both in print and online, so that those without access to Columbia’s campus can still read our magazine. Lastly, we place significant emphasis on making our website and publication accessible to those with disabilities by including image captions, a keyboard-only friendly webpage, and including an Accessibility Director in our Executive Team. In these ways, we hope to truly embody our mission of Neuroscience For All. 

 
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Mentorship: Inclusivity and Growth

Like other Grey Matters Journal chapters across the country, we take a unique approach to journal publication. Rather than having prospective writers submit completed articles for review, we ask for an article proposal, which consists of a short summary of an idea for an article and the sources the writer plans to use. From there, writers are paired with a team of undergraduate editors, who help them develop and refine their writing, as well as undergraduate artists, with whom they collaborate to design illustrations that bring the article to life. This mentorship model means that any student, from any major or background, is able to publish the best version of their work in our magazine. Furthermore, each writer has the support of numerous editors, whose primary goal is to help them hone their skills and become effective writers, editors, artists, and scientific communicators.

 

With support from the other Grey Matters chapters, our Leadership Team has developed a three-tiered editing approach that engages students across departments:

 

  • General Editing: General Editors help authors strengthen and refine writing by providing feedback on grammar, word choice, article clarity and organization, and tone. This role is designed for CU students who are excellent communicators and are passionate about all aspects, big and small, of the editing process.

  • Scientific Review: Scientific Editors maintain the scientific integrity of our articles. Editors are responsible for ensuring that study interpretations and physiological processes are accurately represented and assist writers as research aids. This role is designed for students with strong communication skills, a passion for science, and a commitment to accuracy.

  • Lay Review: The Lay Review team edits each piece for accessibility and clarity of thought, making sure any reader with only a high school level biology background is able to understand the scientific concepts presented. This role is designed for students who are excellent, clear communicators and are passionate about making ideas accessible to all. There is NO science background required— in fact, a humanities background is strongly preferred.

 
A Standard of Scientific Accuracy

Grey Matters CU strives to uphold a high standard of scientific accuracy in all our published work. Our team of Scientific Editors, consisting of students well-versed in scientific disciplines from neuroscience and biology to physics and chemistry, will continually assess the scientific accuracy of each article as it moves through the editing process. Once it is thoroughly reviewed and deemed complete, the articles will be reviewed by a team of Graduate Students specializing in the field of neuroscience to which the article belongs. These Graduate Students will perform the final fact-check prior to the article’s release to the public.