One of the key lessons learned from our recent reader survey was that there is a strong desire for us to offer more educational material. The scholarly communications sphere is increasingly complex, and building a basic knowledge-base can be difficult. Many of the articles here on The Scholarly Kitchen assume a familiarity with the background concepts being discussed, and we recognize that this makes some posts impenetrable for many of our readers. In a time of fast-moving change, if you’re not directly involved in a particular area, keeping up with those changes is also a struggle.
And so we decided to bring someone on board who can help focus on this type of material, to write “explainer” sorts of articles, as well as to pull in guest posts from experts and conduct interviews to bring light to ideas and practices underlying scholarly communications. While each “Chef” here in the Kitchen is expected to find their own topics and write about whatever interests them, we do have a couple with a particular remit — Siân Harris, for example helps with our global outreach, and Ann Michael covers our “Ask the Chefs” posts.
So we reached out to Jasmine Wallace, from the American Society for Microbiology, and she has graciously accepted our invitation to take on this role. We felt that Jasmine was ideally suited for helping us bring in more educational content, given her background (including a Masters in Publishing from George Washington University) as well as her activity in the community (co-chairing the Professional Development Committee for the Council of Science Editors). Jasmine has written for us before, and her first post as an official Chef is out today — while it’s not strictly an educational explainer, I found it tremendously enlightening and suspect many of you will as well.
Please join me in welcoming Jasmine aboard, and in the comments below, let us know if there are any areas of scholarly communications that you’d like to learn more about. And for the seasoned professionals out there, are there any areas that you struggled to learn about and where you’d like to share your hard-won knowledge?