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OpenMind

ABOUT US

OpenMind is a digital magazine covering disinformation, controversy, cognitive manipulation, and conspiracy theory in science. We publish public service science journalism at the crossroads of culture and politics, addressing areas from biomedicine to neuroscience to technology. Our goals are to expand public understanding of the scientific method and to extend the benefits of science to the widest possible audience while combating rampant disinformation.

We are motivated by the enormous global challenges, from the Covid pandemic to the climate crisis, that force us to confront the damaging ways that public understanding of science can be twisted. Everyone is vulnerable to manipulation, especially when bombarded with information overload and forced to adapt to fast-developing technologies.

OpenMind is our response. We aim to offer clarifying perspectives and fresh insights on the most important issues in science and technology. We confront misinformation, conspiracy theories, and problematic ways of communicating scientific ideas. We interrogate bad science journalism and media, analyze exemplars of reporting done well, discuss the latest cognitive research on how we think about science, untangle the politics of science, and examine how culture and history influence the ways different groups interact with the scientific enterprise.

In every area, we seek out ways to do better. Our goal is not just deeper understanding, but finding a path to happier, healthier, and more just world.

We take a pluralistic approach, publishing a variety of perspectives and points of view. We are open to a wide variety of voices from diverse contributors from the journalistic and academic worlds.

OpenMind was inspired by entrepreneur Brian Cohen, Chairman of the Science Literacy Foundation, who felt an urgent need to promote critical thinking in a public inundated with disinformation, misinformation, and fake news. SLF has provided start-up funding for OpenMind.

If you would like to join our mission and write for us, check out our pitch guidelines.

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

OpenMind maintains complete editorial independence. Although we are initially funded by the Science Literacy Foundation, the articles and essays in OpenMind do not represent the views of the Foundation or of any other funder or publishing partner; researchers or journalists who receive Foundation funding do not receive preferential treatment. Editorial content is not reviewed by anyone outside of the magazine staff prior to publication, and all editorial decisions are made solely by the staff of OpenMind.

OUR FOCUS

Controversies — hot topics of scientific debate, as well as important areas of dispute that are under-reported in the popular media. Here we cover science-related ethical issues, such as debates over social genomics, which are defined by personal and societal values.

Conspiracies — This category includes the sociology, politics, culture, and economics of active misinformation in all its forms: denialism, weaponized “free thinking,” and misleading agendas, in addition to all-out conspiracy theories.

Deceptions — explorations into how we decide what qualifies as validated science, and the harms caused by spurious claims. This category includes investigations into the problems of research, replication, and communication that arise within the scientific community itself.

Cognition — stories covering the psychology and neuroscience of information, learning, and belief. Here we cover styles of education, methods for challenging entrenched attitudes, and novel tools for science communication.

Culture — how history, politics, class, gender, access, and economic impediments across society impact different populations and block people from sharing in the benefits of science. Here we also explore how scientific ideas influence pop culture, and vice versa.

BS Alert — stories calling out bad science, bad science reporting, and bad media representations: showing what went wrong and why, exploring the potential for harm, as well as analyzing outstanding examples of difficult science communication done well.

OUR TEAM

Pamela Weintraub, co-Editor in Chief

Pamela is currently the psychology and neuroscience editor at Aeon.co, EIC of several newsstand titles a year from Centennial Media and PopSci, and author of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic.

Corey S. Powell, co-Editor in Chief

Corey is the former editor in chief of Discover and American Scientist magazines, as well as a podcaster and freelance writer who has collaborated on five New York Times bestselling books. He is a writer on the upcoming NBC disaster-science series The End is Nye.

Jillian Mock, Managing Editor

Jillian is an independent science journalist who writes, edits, and fact-checks stories related to health, medicine, climate change, and wildlife.

Douglas Starr, Consulting Editor

Douglas, Professor Emeritus at Boston University, co-directed the Graduate Program in Science Journalism for 29 years. His books and articles have won a Los Angeles Book Prize, the Gold Dagger Award in Britain and the Science in Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers.

HOW TO PITCH OPEN MIND

We are looking for passionate, opinionated, clear-headed writers.

Describe your story and explain why it is unique. Explain why you are the right person to write the piece. Let us know if you bring personal experience or expertise, including in-depth reporting, and please alert us if the story is time-sensitive. Your pitch should convey a sense of your style, present the expected organization, and explain the research required. Include a bio with a link to your website and other relevant clips. (As long as your clips demonstrate your ability to deliver the proposed piece, the pitch can be short, around 300-600 words. In some instances, we may request additional details.)

SUBMISSIONS

If you are already in touch with an OpenMind editor, including Pamela Weintraub, Corey S. Powell, or Jillian Mock, feel free to correspond with them directly. If you are pitching us for the first time, please send your pitch to Jillian Mock: jillian@scienceliteracyfoundation.org We are an extremely small team, so please allow up to a month for us to get back to you. Our editorial team reviews pitches on a rolling basis, with editorial meetings to discuss and decide on pitches planned for every two weeks.

PAY

We pay journalists a flat fee of $1,500 for reported essays or features, with a target length of 1,200 to 2,000 words. We pay experts and authors a flat fee of $500 for an opinion piece, cultural review, or essay. Payment is issued on acceptance.