For over a generation, the MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences has been an essential resource for researchers and students of cognitive science and neuroscience. Today, the MIT Press proudly announces its intellectual successor—the Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (OECS), a dynamic and openly accessible web reference poised to guide the next generation of exploration. Thanks to generous funding from James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Allen Institute for AI, the first set of articles will be published in 2024.
In our contemporary intellectual landscape, questions about the nature of the mind, its growth, interactions, and variances — from the nuances of large language models to the complexities of political polarization — demand multifaceted exploration. The OECS will equip readers with essential tools to grapple with the profound implications of cognition and intelligence in today's society.
For esteemed editors-in-chief Michael Frank of Stanford University and Asifa Majid of the University of Oxford, the OECS stands apart from other reference works because it will facilitate cross-disciplinary understanding: “Cognitive science is inherently interdisciplinary and requires shared referents including foundational philosophical concepts, approaches to the measurement of behavior from psychology, observations of human variation from anthropology, representations and formalisms from linguistics, mechanistic insights from neuroscience, and computational methods taken from computer science, statistics, and beyond. The OECS will connect these resources and ideas in a single, authoritative encyclopedia.”
OECS’s articles will not only establish a shared understanding of foundational concepts, but also showcase cutting-edge debates and introduce core subfields, central concepts, significant phenomena, and key methodologies.
Edited by a diverse and international editorial team, led by Frank and Majid, the OECS will be available on the PubPub open publishing platform in 2024 (date tbd). The digital-first format will facilitate new forms of content, enable editors to swiftly update entries in response to new discoveries, and ensure global accessibility without cost barriers.
Amy Brand, Director, and Publisher of the MIT Press, underscores the significance of this project, stating, “Reference works are essential to understand emerging and evolving fields, but they must keep pace with the relentless pace of discovery in our interconnected world. With OECS, we have a unique opportunity to reimagine how core reference works in hybridized STEM and social science disciplines leverage publishing infrastructures, like PubPub, to transform scholarship. We extend our deepest gratitude to the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Allen Institute for AI for their generous support, enabling this exploration.”
For further information and updates on the Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, please visit oecs.mit.edu.