[ASC-list] the journal Science needs volunteer writers for 'Science in the Classroom'

Nancy Longnecker nancy.longnecker at uwa.edu.au
Fri Jun 21 02:53:44 UTC 2013

Hello Liz, 

Thanks for your contribution to this interesting and valuable discussion. 

I agree with all sentiments that have been expressed. It is inappropriate to ask professionals to do things for free when they should be paid. And this happens too often to science communicators. This is different to asking for volunteers to contribute to a non-profit activity. 

My take:
I see this as an opportunity for scom students and early-career science communicators to build their portfolio by contributing to a highly reputable journal and am quite happy to promote it with them. It is also an opportunity for some professional scientists in the required fields (geology, etc) to work with science communication students to produce something of value. All would learn from such a collaboration. 

Cheers, Nancy

Assoc Prof Nancy Longnecker

Science Communication
School of Animal Biology, M092
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, WA   6009

ph: 61 8 6488 3926
nancy.longnecker at uwa.edu.au

skype: nancylongnecker

“Science is part of the reality of living; it is the what, the how, and the why of everything in our experience.” Rachel Carson, 1952.

CRICOS Provider No. 00126G

From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Elizabeth.Yuncken at csiro.au [Elizabeth.Yuncken at csiro.au]
Sent: Friday, 21 June 2013 7:51 AM
To: niall at scienceinpublic.com.au; willrifkinphd at gmail.com; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Cc: phines at aaas.org
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] the journal Science needs volunteer writers for 'Science        in the Classroom'

Yes, it’s bad to apply pressure to people to get them to do work for free for which they would otherwise be paid, and to profit from this.

BUT, there’s a lot of activity in the world that is done for free by volunteers. The AAAS materials are given away for free, and they’re not trying to make a profit by selling subscriptions or advertising. There’s no coercion involved.

In other fields, such as music, there’s a big community of good-quality amateurs that undertake similar activities to professionals but don’t expect payment – in fact they often pay for the privilege of joining choirs or orchestras. Granted, they’re not trying to make a living out of their music, which is why they can offer their services for free. But I’m not sure that many professional musicians would argue that all members of community choirs should be paid union rates.

In the science communication world, there’s not much exposure given to this type of community of amateurs, but perhaps we should make room for them? If people get a buzz from translating science, and would like to do it for free in their evenings or weekends after a week of other kinds of paid work, then shouldn’t we celebrate that?

Naturally, we should be careful that people aren’t being exploited, and there would be limits to the type of ‘work’ that amateurs are suited to. But I would think that writing free resource material for a non-profit organisation would be a ‘job’ well-suited to an active amateur.


Elizabeth YUNCKEN
Advisor - Europe, India and Middle East
Development Group
E elizabeth.yuncken at csiro.au T +61 2 6276 6480 M +61 467 777 817
PO Box 225 Dickson ACT 2602

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From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Niall Byrne
Sent: Friday, 21 June 2013 4:58 AM
To: Will Rifkin; ASC listserv
Cc: Pam Hines
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] the journal Science needs volunteer writers for 'Science in the Classroom'

Dear Will and ASCers,

It’s disappointing that the AAAS is seeking volunteer writers.

There’s been a lively conversation in the US about prominent magazines like Atlantic Monthy expecting journalists to work for nothing.

See https://knightcenter.utexas.edu/blog/00-13172-atlantics-request-freelancer-write-pro-bono-hits-nerve

I think it’s important that the leaders in science and science communication are seen to respect the value of good writing.

Having said that we offer unpaid internships as do others, and I encourage young writers to find ways to volunteer to build their profiles.

But this seems a bridge too far.



Niall Byrne

Creative Director, Science in Public

I’m in Europe until 17 July for the World Conference of Science Journalists and other events.
Contact me by email or skype
All phone messages go to skype

niall at scienceinpublic.com.au<mailto:niall at scienceinpublic.com.au>
Twitter scienceinpublic
Skype niall_byrne

From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au> [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Will Rifkin
Sent: Wednesday, 19 June 2013 7:35 PM
To: ASC listserv
Cc: Pam Hines
Subject: [ASC-list] the journal Science needs volunteer writers for 'Science in the Classroom'

Dear ASC colleagues,

The respected journal, Science, is seeking volunteer writers for their 'Science in the Classroom' project.  The project creates a set of annotated research papers and accompanying teaching materials.

They need one expert each in the fields of geology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.  The effort is supported by the US National Science Foundation for 1 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2015.

For information about the effort and sample materials, see - http://scienceintheclassroom.org/

My contact at Science is Pamela J. Hines <phines at aaas.org<mailto:phines at aaas.org>>, senior editor in the area of plant science, developmental neurobiology, developmental biology, stem cells, and evolution.  She also conceived and is editor for the refereed Education section that appears once each month in Science.

Please reply directly to Pam Hines, ... and cc me.  Show her an example of relevant work that you have done, and bargain for a free subscription.  ;-)


Will Rifkin, PhD
SaMnet HQ, U of Sydney
Science and Mathematics network of Australian university educators
willrifkinphd at gmail.com<mailto:willrifkinphd at gmail.com>
mob: (+61) 402 612 586

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