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AuthorAID: looking for research mentors

Posted by on November 21, 2013

By Catherine Ball, Science Policy Officer at the Biochemical Society and Society of Biology

Communication and dissemination of research is a big focus for us at the Society of Biology. Through our work with our Research Dissemination Committee, we champion equitable and sustainable practices in the circulation of research outputs. No small task recently as the scientific publishing landscape in the UK has undergone significant changes as a result of the open access movement.

The changes that open access has brought don’t just affect researchers and publishers in the UK. Scientific research is a global endeavour and increasing the access to research outputs means that more scientists in more countries can read and build on research from the UK community.

However, access to research outputs isn’t the only barrier which scientists in other countries can face. Researchers in developing countries often have to deal with a number of issues including those which may be obvious, such as lack of funding and infrastructure, and those which may be less obvious, such as a lack of appropriate guidance and mentorship. With regards to the latter, this is an area where members of the Society of Biology can become involved; one way of doing this is through the AuthorAID programme.

What is AuthorAID?

AuthorAID is a pioneering program based at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP). It is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Swedish International Development Corporation Agency (SIDA) and aims to help researchers in developing countries to publish and communicate their work. It also serves as a wider global forum to discuss and disseminate research.

AuthorAID operates as an online platform which allows early career researchers in developing countries to find mentors who can help them to progress in their research careers. Finding committed mentors is therefore essential to the success of the project. This is where our members can play a part…

Who is involved?

AuthorAID is looking for researchers with experience of the publishing landscape who can encourage and support early-career researchers in developing countries. This does not involve financial support, rather the giving of advice and sharing of expertise. Typical areas where advice is often sought include:

  • Research methods and analysis
  • Appropriate journals for submitting manuscripts (including both international and regional journals)
  • Manuscript preparation
  • Writing style
  • The peer review process and responding to referees’ comments
  • Presentations and posters
  • Preparing grant proposals
  • Scientific communication in general

Visit the AuthorAID website and see the AuthorAID guidelines for more information.  For a general example of how AuthorAID might work, follow Rahim on his mentoring journey. If you have specific questions or issues, please feel free to contact AuthorAID.

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