Nature Publishing Group has partnered with UQ and QBI to publish npj Science of Learning, a new open access research journal that will explore the neurobiology of learning in experimental and educational environments.

Professor Pankaj Sah has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of the new journal.

Professor Sah’s work centres on understanding the amygdala, an area of the brain involved in emotional processing; he is also Director of the Australian Research Council’s Science of Learning Research Centre (SLRC).

“The merger of neuroscience with education we are currently seeing has the same potential that the union of medical science had with biology in the health revolution of the last century,” Professor Sah said.

“These are exciting times for neuroscience, and the science is taking us from the molecular and cellular understanding of brain function all the way to the classroom, and the journal is about trying to understand not only how we learn, but how we can learn better.”

Professor Sah said that education needs to be treated like health, and the outcomes of new teaching strategies should be tested and evaluated before implementation in classrooms.

“You would never release a new drug to the market without it going through clinical trials, and likewise education methods should be properly tested,” he said.

QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett said hosting the journal at QBI highlighted the Institute’s international standing.

“Partnering with Nature is an extremely prestigious accomplishment, and Professor Sah’s appointment as Editor-in-Chief displays the calibre of research undertaken here,” Professor Bartlett said.

UQ President and Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said the University was proud to support the npj Science of Learning, which would disseminate scholarly literature in one of the most exciting frontiers of modern education.

“The insights gained from neurobiology and the ‘science of learning’, including big data from our edX MOOCs offerings, will help educators all over the world to refine approaches to learning and support better outcomes for students,” Professor Høj said.

The open access format of the journal means that all articles will be free to read upon publication, enabling greater reach to the wider community interested in this topic, from researchers to school teachers.

The journal is online at www.nature.com/npjscilearn and is open for submissions.