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Eur J Neurosci. 2018 Sep;48(5):2099-2109. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14101. Epub 2018 Sep 9.

Neuroscience without borders: Preserving the history of neuroscience.

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Neurology Unit, A.S.S.T.-Lecco, Merate, Italy.
Centre of Neuroscience, Università degli Studi di Ferrata, Ferrata, Italy.
Scientific Library, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico "Carlo Besta", Milano, Italy.
Laboratoire de Science, INSERM, CNRS Neurosciences Paris Seine, Sorbonne University, UPM, Univ Paris 06, Institut de Biologie Paris Seine (NPS-IBPS), Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Philosophie et Histoire des Sciences (SPHERE), Paris, France.
Laboratoire de Science, Philosophie et Histoire des Sciences (SPHERE), UMR7219, Paris Diderot University, Paris, France.
Department of Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
Biological Science, Neurology, and Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Brain Mind Institute, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Departiment of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Over the last 50 years, neuroscience has enjoyed a spectacular development, with many discoveries greatly expanding our knowledge of brain function. Despite this progress, there has been a disregard for preserving the history of these discoveries. In many European countries, historic objects, instruments, and archives are neglected, while libraries and museums specifically focusing on neuroscience have been closed or drastically cut back. To reverse this trend, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) has organized a number of projects, including (a) the History of Neuroscience online projects, (b) the European Brain Museum Project (EBM), (c) the History online library, (d) the FENS meeting History Corner, (e) history lectures in historic venues, and (f) a series of history seminars in various European venues. These projects aim to stimulate research in, and increase awareness of, the history of European neuroscience. Our seminars have attracted large audiences of students, researchers, and the general public, who have supported our initiatives for the preservation of the history of neuroscience for future generations and for the promotion of interest in the history of neuroscience. It is therefore urgent to develop new methods for preserving our history, not only in Europe but also in the rest of the world, and to increase greatly teaching and research in this important aspect of our scientific and cultural legacy.


archives; history of neuroscience; libraries; museum; preservation


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