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Calling all ANZ science editors

by Jane Fitzpatrick

The informal, Melbourne-based group of freelance science editors known as SciFlyers is taking advantage of the move to online activities to spread its wings. During the shutdowns, Editors Victoria has been providing an online Zoom networking meeting as a forum for this group, but we would like to throw these meetings open to all IPEd members working on science publications. Stay tuned for the invitation to the first meeting.

We also plan to run a semi-regular column in this newsletter about the resources mentioned at our Zoom catch-ups. If you would like to contribute or have any queries about the group, please contact Kerry Brown at drkb48@gmail.com. In the meantime, here is a taste of what we covered in the 20 August Zoom meeting:

Several people have been exploring professional development during the shutdown. Penny Drago has had good experiences with some online courses from Future Learn: Overcoming imposter syndrome and Professional resilience. Joely Taylor recommended an edX instructional design and technology course she has been doing.

We discussed the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS) exam, including the level it is pitched at and the preparation required. The whole exam is multiple choice but not open book, so you need to be very well prepared. Joely Taylor recommended becoming thoroughly familiar with the Council of Science Editors’ Scientific style and format: the CSE manual for authors, editors, and publishers. There is an application process to become a BELS-exam candidate. Note that the next exam is going to be online. 

We discussed the usefulness of the private Facebook group, Secret Editors’ Business (open to for IPEd/CSE members), for solving editorial problems and getting advice in general. In addition, Margie Beilharz recommended another group on Facebook, Editors Who Talk Tech, an international group which says it is for ‘… text editors who aren’t afraid of technology, want to learn more, and are willing to trade ideas’.

We discussed the many and varied paths by which we became science editors. Some common themes were that skills were often learned on the job, sometimes supplemented by formal study or IPEd accreditation.

Finally, there was a great topic suggestion for a future Zoom chat from Lorna Hendry: we could talk about the tech we use to help us with our work, e.g. PerfectIt, macros, Pro Writing Aid.

Jane Fitzpatrick is Vice-President of Editors Victoria and a member of the Professional Development subcommittee: edvic.vicepres@iped-editors.org.


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