Getting published is a major milestone in any researcher’s career, but it’s also a journey fraught with challenges and questions from the very beginning: how do you write up your results into something meaningful and readable? How do you choose the right journal? How do you make sure your paper has impact? And of course, how do you make sure your paper doesn’t end up on the rejection pile?
In many lower and lower-middle income countries, researchers often don’t have the access to the resources and training in research writing and publishing that we can take for granted in the US and UK. As a result, a lot of important research gets rejected and goes unpublished, or, even worse, ends up in questionable ‘predatory’ journals, which can damage the reputation of the researcher and their work.
This is where AuthorAID mentors can provide an important role, using their skills and experience to guide less experienced researchers through the challenges of publishing and communicating their research. We are continually looking to increase the number of volunteer mentors on our system to help meet a growing demand.
“It's very comforting to know that there are many committed members of AuthorAID to help you get through your research difficulties...when you most need it as an emerging scholar!”
-Gemechu Olana, Ethiopia
How does online mentoring work?
The mentoring system helps pair experienced mentors with researchers who need support at any stage of their writing project, whether it be in article planning, language editing, or dealing with the peer-review process. Mentees can also seek help with other areas such as poster presentations, grant proposal writing, data analysis, and career mentoring.
Mentoring relationships can be short or long-term, and mentors and mentees have the option of signing a mentoring agreement to set out clear objectives for both parties.
Who can be a mentor?
Many AuthorAID mentors are senior researchers with years of experience and long lists of publications behind them, but we also have a growing number of less-experienced postdocs or researchers who are also keen to put their knowledge and skills into action. We usually ask that mentors have successfully published at least two or three papers in high-quality journals, or have won at least two grant applications. Alternatively, if you have substantial editorial experience we would also like to hear from you.
The benefits for mentors
“…being an AuthorAID mentor goes beyond a conventional teacher-student relationship - it is a really stimulating and worthwhile learning process for both mentee and mentor.”
-Dan Korbel, UK
So what benefits are there for mentors? Well not only are you doing your bit for global development and research, but we believe that mentoring is a worthwhile personal development process that can widen your perspective and add valuable skills to your CV such as mentoring experience, editing skills, and reviewing manuscripts. We notice that AuthorAID mentors are beginning to add this experience to their LinkedIn profiles.
The Researcher Development Framework developed by Vitae recognizes the importance of not only developing mentoring skills, but also that of global citizenship – engaging and understanding other cultures and international research issues, and developing international contacts and networks.