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A research article with great impact

The quarterly distinction "Paper of the Quarter" serves to recognize outstanding publications in the field of 3R principle (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) of the 3R Competence Network NRW. The aim is to recognize the diversity of research achievements and in particular those publications for which the extraordinary quality cannot be adequately reflected by quantitative evaluation criteria such as the Journal Impact Factor (JIF). A high JIF is not an exclusion criterion, but it is not a selection criterion either.

The award is presented as part of a quarterly open competition. The decision on the publication to be awarded is made by the network's Steering Committee which is formed by the representatives of the eight faculties of medicine in NRW. Each location represented on the Steering Committee has one vote, so that the winner is determined by a simple majority of votes. The selection can be made if at least 50% of the site representatives are present at the relevant meeting.

The selected paper will be made visible as "Paper of the Quarter" by the network. The award is also recognized with a certificate. The cooperation of the award winners in the announcement (in particular the prompt provision of a summary and, if applicable, a photo/symbol image) is required.

Publications can be submitted for the competition via the following link:

Apply now

How to apply?

Participation in the "Paper of the Quarter" competition is only possible by applying via the online form provided on the website of the 3R Competence Network NRW, via SoSci Survey.

The application must include a version of the publication in PDF format, as well as a brief explanation of what qualifies the publication for the award from the author's point of view.

Please see below for the deadlines for 2024:

1st quarter:
submission by 29.02.2024
2nd quarter:
submission by 31.05.2024
3rd quarter:
submission by 31.08.2024
4th quarter:
submission by 30.11.2024

Selection procedure

The quarterly selection of the outstanding "Paper of the Quarter" is made by the Steering Committee of the 3R Competence Network NRW. The committee is free to choose the evaluation criteria. However, it is encouraged to give special consideration to qualitative factors such as originality and innovation potential, scientific significance, translational potential, special significance for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (with regard to research priorities, interdisciplinarity, cross-location cooperation, ...), special achievements of young scientists, as well as the information provided by the authors as part of the application. Quantitative measures (JIF, citation numbers, ...) should be avoided in the selection process. The Steering Committee will provide a brief justification for the selection of the article, which will be published as part of the announcement of the distinguished publication. The decision of the Steering Committee is not contestable.

General conditions

Publications can be submitted by all scientists who have a (possibly shared) first or last authorship and/or are listed as "corresponding author", with a clear affiliation to a faculty in North Rhine-Westphalia. The publication should be written in English or German.

The submitted publications must have an online or print publication date that is no more than 12 months before the submission deadline of the respective quarter.

However, the Steering Committee is free to consider a submission again in a later quarter if it has a publication date no more than 12 months before the submission deadline.

Apply now!

If you click on the "Apply" button below, you will be redirected to the PoQ application platform. Here you can fill out a questionnaire in German or English to complete your application.


Selected Papers


Q1: Aniella Bak and colleagues were recognized for their work on "Human organotypic brain slice cultures: a detailed and improved protocol for preparation and long-term maintenance".

"The publication was selected due to its potential to replace many animal experiments with a human-relevant "Brain Slice Model (HBS)". The Scientific Advisory Board of the 3R Competence Network NRW particularly emphasizes the detailed description of the establishment of the HBS model and the culture for up to 3 weeks including the intact neuronal activity. Their model will make it possible to study diseases such as epilepsy, neuronal degeneration or even brain tumors in vitro in the human-relevant system.
This award underlines not only their hard work and expertise, but also the potential contribution of their research to reducing animal testing and advancing human-relevant research methods."

Q2: [First author] and colleagues were recognized for their work on "[short description]".

Q3: [First author]
and colleagues were recognized for their work on "[short description]".

Q4: [First author]
and colleagues were recognized for their work on "[short description]".

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