Blog post by Iratxe Puebla and the ASAPbio Fellows Tara Fischer, Gautam Dey, Jonny Coates, Aleksandra Petelski, Vanessa Bortoluzzi & Gilbert Kibet-Rono
A key step in the research process is the communication of researchers’ work to the scientific community. Preprints can bring many benefits to science communication, but the inner workings of the publication process and where preprints fit within the publication life cycle are not always transparent to researchers. Additionally, how the publication process works and how scientific communication impacts progress in science is often not discussed or formally taught during scientific training. As a part of our participation in the 2020 ASAPbio Fellows program, we wanted to help raise awareness of preprints and support the training of early-career researchers by detailing how a manuscript goes from being written by the scientist to published at a journal, and how preprinting is integrated into this process to improve scientific communication. With this motivation, a group of us – Tara Fischer, Gautam Dey, Jonny Coates, Aleksandra Petelski, Vanessa Bortoluzzi and Gilbert Kibet-Rono – decided to develop a training course aimed at graduate students, junior postdoctoral researchers, and anyone in the public with an interest in understanding the current and emerging landscape of the scientific communication process.
Over the last year we have worked collaboratively on developing lesson plans, course materials, exercises and infographics for the course. We had feedback from other Fellows and members of the ASAPbio Community on our documents as they developed, and we refined the different materials to incorporate the suggestions and input.
The course includes four lessons covering the publishing pipeline with an emphasis on the role of preprints at each stage. The modules provide insights into the following topics in the context of the life and biomedical sciences:
- An introduction into the evolving publication landscape
- Understanding and engaging with preprints
- The editorial process and peer review
- How to effectively and responsibly communicate scientific research
For each of these sections, we provide a lesson plan, course materials (slides, infographics etc) as well as additional references and resources. These materials should serve as a useful starting point to develop lectures and other training formats, and can be tailored to fit the specific needs of the educator based on audience, content, and timing.
We encourage community members with an interest in learning more about preprints and educators who teach courses about science communication to use the materials from this course and adapt them as needed for their own purposes. We hope that the training course will be a valuable resource for the community, and would love to hear from you if you complete the course or make use of it for your teaching activities, please feel free to comment on this post, on GitHub or contact us with any feedback.