Facing Young Reviewers in a Live Review BASF 2016


In association with the Bay Area Science Festival, Frontiers for Young Minds hosted the second edition of our annual event, held at the Chabot Space and Science center in Oakland on the 29th of October and what a success it was! Researchers were asked to present their work not only to the public, but also to a panel of six young reviewers who had a variety of challenging questions for them.

The event began with an introduction from our Chief Editor, Robert Knight and moderated by neuroscientist, Indre Viskontas who described how Frontiers for Young Minds ‘flips the scientific process’ by having kids review scientific publications and consequently, providing an excellent tool for scientists to become better communicators. The whole event can be viewed from each of the below shots, so why not see what our young reviewers had to say.

Watch the video


Prior to the event, the Young Reviewers were given the chance to read the submitted papers and prepare some questions that they could ask at the end of each presentation.

One of our reviewers, Paceyn (age 7), highlighted a key question that authors had overlooked when presenting an article on the processes used to study evolution – “I really liked it and there was only one tiny part that was a little confusing…how does it really work? It doesn’t show you how evolution came to work?“. Demonstrating how often, in scientific studies, researchers focus on the specifics, rather than explaining the foundations of a concept beforehand, in this case, the theory of evolution.

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Moving to the field of neuroscience, during a presentation on mind wandering, Krishna (age 11) raised the important point on the accuracy of people reporting mind wandering or not, and offered the following suggestion instead – “couldn’t you try the experiment in another way by using a button and a selection of images with a bell in the background, and if you hear the bell, you press the button and if you don’t, then you know you’re mind wandering?“. What a great idea for the next experiment and a good assessment of the flaws in the experience sampling method, where it is difficult to confirm whether participants are being truthful in what they are reporting.

Watch the video


During the course of the event, the authors emphasized the question of how can we guide someone through the whole scientific process if it is not communicated effectively?

Watch the video


Watch the video


As the presentations came to an end, the tension, understandably, mounted when a verdict on each of the articles was made and luckily on this occasion, only minor revisions had been requested by the young reviewers.

Watch the video: Thank you to Matt Fisher for filming the event

As the event drew to a close and when asked what articles they would like to read more of, a flurry of hands with a variety of ideas came up including wanting to know more on life on other planets, physics, biochemistry and even artificial intelligence. Let’s see what we can do to make that happen!

To read more about the event, please find a feature written in the East Bay Times here.

Frontiers for Young Minds would like to thank all the people and organizations who made this event possible, including: The Frontiers Research Foundation, The Jacobs Foundation of Zurich, the Bay Area Science Festival, Chabot Space and Science Center, Swissnex, the Young Minds Team, chief editors, authors, science mentors, parents, and young reviewers. We would also like to thank Judah and Golden for the generous donation, which provided subsidized tickets to the event.


REPUBLISHING GUIDELINES: At Frontiers, open access and sharing research is part of our mission. Unless otherwise noted, you can republish our articles posted in the Frontiers blog – as long as you credit us with a link back. Editing the articles or selling them is not allowed.

The participants have given consent to be featured in this article.

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