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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Illustration by Julia Yellow

Big changes ahead in 2015

by  /  22 December 2014

This article is more than five years old. Autism research - and science in general - is constantly evolving, so older articles may contain information or theories that have been reevaluated since their original publication date.

Dear Readers,

2014 was a remarkable year for autism research, as you can see in our year-end wrap-up; there were months in which we could barely keep up with the steady torrent of groundbreaking results.

Behind the scenes at, too, there were seismic shifts, and I’m thrilled to announce how these changes will unfold over the coming year.

Sometime around the summer of 2015, the News & Opinion section on will be rebranded as Spectrum and move to a new website.

As you know, while the funding for News & Opinion comes from the Simons Foundation, the news team functions with editorial and journalistic independence, meaning that the articles we produce do not reflect the opinions of the foundation’s scientific staff or the goals of SFARI programs.

We believe this is important because to truly advance autism research, the information we provide must be free of bias and agenda. The move to a new website simply makes this editorial independence explicit. Grants, funding opportunities and other information relevant to SFARI’s programmatic activities will remain where they are on

Throughout this process, we’ll let you know what’s coming and when, and try to make the transition as seamless as possible. Even after the move to the new website, you’ll be able to find your way to Spectrum content easily from’s website and vice versa.

There are other, smaller, developments, too. In June, we met with the members of our new advisory board, who gave us invaluable advice and support to institute changes we had long been contemplating. We have always tried to provide analysis along with the news, but have recently begun diving deep into specific areas of autism research — the value in approaching autism ‘genetics first,’ for example, or the under-explored phenomenon of suicide in people with the disorder.

To give us time for these in-depth analyses, we dropped “In Briefs,” the short summaries of papers we ran twice a week. In their place, we plan to debut “Spotted,” a brief roundup of papers and other media mentions of autism, early in 2015.

If you have questions or concerns at any point, please let us know at [email protected] We’re always willing to listen.

Since launched in 2008, with a staff of one and a modest audience, our team, our readership and our goals have all expanded enormously. We have experimented with various types of articles and added dozens of voices. But one thing that has never wavered is our commitment to provide accurate and objective coverage of autism research. Spectrum is the next, logical creation of that commitment, and we hope you’ll join us there.

Apoorva Mandavilli


TAGS:   autism