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Computational Neuroscience, Developing Countries and more

Today marks the publication of a special neuroscience Review in PLoS Computational Biology that we expect will become a key reference work. Gustavo Deco, Viktor K. Jirsa, Peter A. Robinson, Michael Breakspear, and Karl Friston present the results of several years of collaboration in response to a challenge posed at a Brain Connectivity Workshop to define and clarify the true meanings and usage of models in constant, but approximate use. Terms such as mean-field approximations, mass-action, neural-mass models, neural-field models, density-dynamics, etc. were in regular use but in undefined ways. This article tries to address how different models, used to simulate and predict observed brain dynamics, can be traced back to their common fundaments. In an accompanying Editorial also published today, Karl Friston, PLoS Computational Biology’s neuroscience editor, explains the origin and purpose of the article, which should standardise many concepts for some time.

Another special notice for this month is the new Developing Computational Biology Collection, available for free at: http://collections.plos.org/ploscompbiol/developing.php. These articles, published over the last year, are a series of personal Perspectives from computational biologists in a variety of developing, and often under-represented, countries. Featuring viewpoints from Goran Neshich in Brazil, Sebastian Bassi in Argentina, Liping Wei in China, and more, the series has brought a different voice to science around the world.

And finally, PLoS Computational Biology also sheds light on the difficulties for some of these same scientists to travel internationally, either to conferences or for more permanent work. In an Editorial published in collaboration with the International Society for Computational Biology following a survey conducted by the Society, Barb Bryant considers the travel restrictions imposed on many scientists, especially with regard to US visas. If you have anything you would like to add to this topic, please use our commentary features to add your thoughts.

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