Neuroscience/Preface/How You Can Help

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What is this thing you call a "Neuroscience WikiBook"?[edit]

The Neuroscience Wikibook is also a wiki which means that anyone can edit it. This is considered a Good Idea™ because every reader effectively becomes an editor so the content matures and improves over time. As more people read and edit, the content becomes more accurate, more up-to-date and more balanced.

It's a Wiki![edit]

You can fully edit this book. Please feel free to remove mistakes, flesh out existing pages or even to start entire new pages. If you've never used a Wiki before then take a look at the Help:Contents page to get started and the MediaWiki users' guide for more detailed information. Also have a look at the To Do page.

OK... sell it to me... why should I spend my time contributing?[edit]

  • It's fun showing off how damn clever you are.
  • It's a pleasure to contribute to a wiki because it's a collaborative process. What does that mean? Well... you add a little bit and then you come back the next day to find that someone has added a little bit more and so on. Remember those cress-growing kits kids used to get before Play Stations were developed? Contributing to a wiki is a little like growing cress... you lay the seeds, let it grow a bit, then take some for your sandwhich, then let it grow some more (OK, crap analagy but you get the idea). You get to participate in and nurture a growing document.
  • As a researcher or student, you'll spend a lot of your time doing your own independent research. Before you do your next bit of research, take a look at this book to see if we already have some answers to your questions. If not, start a new page and use it to make your research notes on (you were gonna make notes anyway, right?). Now you're killing two birds with one stone: not only are you doing yourself a favour by taking organised notes but you're also setting the foundations for a full-fleshed-out page that will help others. Don't worry... you don't have to leave the page in a pristine condition... just do what you can and others will add to it later.
  • You get to feel like you're doing something useful with those hours spent in front of the computer!

Yes, I want to contribute! How do I get started?[edit]

There are no concrete regulations but the following could be considered "best practice":

  1. Register at WikiBooks (click the "register" link at the top right). This is free and they wont spam you. Registering will mean that your edits will be signed with your username.
  2. If you haven't done so yet then read up on how to edit WikiBooks on this help page and this users' guide for more detailed information.
  3. Add your name to the list of contributors.
  4. Before contributing, make sure the book doesn't already contain the information you're planning to write about.
  5. Have a quick look over the formatting guide below...

Formatting Guide[edit]

The Neuroscience wikibook and WikiPedia[edit]

Before editing or writing an article, check to see if Wikipedia has an article on what you're about to write about. If it does then your job is to integrate the Wikipedia content into the Neuroscience wikibook. First, link from the Neuroscience wikibook to Wikipedia (this is easy using interwiki links, you just write a link like this: [[w:Interesting Wikipedia page|Interesting Wikipedia page]]). Then, if appropriate, link back from Wikipedia to the Neuroscience wikibook. Useful Wikipedia categories include:

It's very important that we don't try to duplicate what's already on Wikipedia. The Neuroscience wikibook is focussed on the more in-depth aspects of Neuroscience. For example, WikiPedia has some excellent articles on memory but doesn't even begin to tell you how to research memory. The Neuroscience wikibook should be based firmly on research: ideally, every statment would be backed up by a citation.

If you have found (or if you have added) a Neuroscience wikibook page that contains content that isn't covered in Wikipedia then it may be appropriate to start a Wikipedia stub article containing a brief, "encyclopaedic" introduction to the subject and then add a link to the Neuroscience wikibook page.


One of the fears with a collaborative book effort is that it loses any sense of "voice". Here are a few guidelines for this.

  • Be direct. Don't be afraid to give it to the reader straight.
  • Use a natural tone. Pretend you are explaining the topic to your best friend.
  • Try your hardest to put across a neutral point of view (NPOV).
  • Try to back up every statement you make with a citation.


  • Use the present tense.
  • Use the active voice.

Personal opinions and experiences[edit]

The main narrative of this book should be impartial. But don't shy away from expressing your own opinion. Just make sure it's perfectly clear to the reader which sections are impartial and which bits are personal opinions. For example, you might want to put your opinions or brief case studies in Side Note Boxes.


  1. Make sure you have the right to use the picture
  2. Upload your pictures to Commons
  3. Select the appropriate "free" license
  4. Name your picture Neuroscience_picturename
  5. Link to your photo like this:
 [[Image:Human brain NIH.jpg|right|300px|A human brain]]
A human brain

For more details, have a look at this help page and this one

Registered trade mark[edit]

Whenever you mention a copyrighted trade mark then you should put an ® by the name and add a footnote to say to whom the trade mark is registered. The code to insert this symbol is:


When to use WikiBooks[edit]

For some reason, wikibooks seems to be fastest in the morning (GMT). It slows down considerably as the evening wears on. Hopefully things will get better as the MediaWiki Foundation get more funding.

I want to do more than just edit... I want to start new pages and modify the structure of the book... what do I need to know?[edit]

Page naming conventions[edit]

See the WikiBooks Naming Policy for more info. Our naming policy runs like this:

Neuroscience/Chapter Name/Module Page


Neuroscience/Cognitive Neuroscience

Chapter names[edit]

Chapter name (examples of pages they contain)
Preface (contributers, how you can help, how to naviate this book)
Introduction (basics of neuroscience)
Cognitive Neuroscience
Cellular Neurobiology 	
Developmental Neurobiology 	
Cognitive Neuroscience 	
Learning and Memory
Computational Neurobiology 	
Neurodegenerative Disease 	

Structure of the book[edit]

The Neuroscience wikibook has a hierachical structure. The naming is hierachical and we also make good use of the MediaWiki categorization system to provide a hierachical structure (see below for more information on the Neuroscience WikiBook's categorization implementation).

(This will soon change... we'll soon be using a hierarchical naming convention)


Please put a link to one of our page header templates at the top of each new page created. Just put one of these at the top of your new page:



The MediaWiki Category feature is a powerful way to... well.. categorise pages! There are several great things about this feature:

  • Category indexes are generated automatically
  • Each page can be in as many categories as you want.
  • Categories allow the wiki to become more "booklike" whilst inheriting all the coolness that databases and hyperlinking provide.

Please put the correct category at the bottom of each page:


Promoting Neuroscience WikiBook[edit]

We are actively looking for new contibutors to the Neuroscience WikiBook. If we can get enough contibutors this book could be THE definitive Neuroscience resource.

Before you promote the Neuroscience wikibook check out the Neuroscience Promotion Tracking Page to ensure someone else has not very recently publicised it where you were going to. 1 per month per forum should be plenty of promotion :-)!