If you are interested in writing and/or editing here are some potential opportunities:
- Scholarly publishing
- Editor for a scientific journal
- Commissioning scientific books
- Technical and marketing writer for a company
- Writer for a University’s media relations group
- Writer for a marketing agency or a professional society
- Work for the federal government as a “Technical Writer/Editor”
- Report science for newspaper, television, and magazine news sources
You would need excellent management, writing, and communication skills.
- Learn about careers in scholarly publishing from the Society of Scholarly Publishing.
- Learn about issues in scholarly publishing at the Scholarly Kitchen Blog.
- Read an article on "Science communication: a career where PhDs can make a difference"
- Read about the path to science writing for JHMI alumna Raj Mukhopadhyay
- Videocast by NIH OITE Careers on Science Writing and Careers in Science Editing.
- Relevant sections in the NIH Symposium Newsletters from 2012 and 2013.
- Refer to The Science Writers’ Handbook.
- Read "Careers in Science Editing: An Overview to Use or Share"
- Connect with publishing professionals through faculty in your department that serve as journal editors or at meetings (e.g. at publishers’ booths).
- Find opportunities to write (papers; articles for the lay public; or blogging). For example, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), a nonprofit scientific and educational organization, is seeking volunteer writers to write new and feature articles, for both print and online. For more information on becoming a contributor, go here or email Angela Hopp (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Courses to consider:
- Effective Science Communication (SoM)
- Journalism and Publishing in the Digital Age (KSAS – AAP)
- Opinion Writing (KSAS – AAP)
Check our list of courses for more.
- Consider the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship.
- Explore the AAAS / Science Magazine internship opportunities
- The National Cancer Institute offers a Health Communications Internship Program.
- The NASW student program at AAAS offers an internship fair and a mentoring program.
- National Center for Health Research communication internships
Professional Societies and Networking Groups (+/-)
- American Association of Publishers’ Professional and Scholarly Publishing division (PSP)
- Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP)
- International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM)
- Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)
- DC Science Writers Association
- National Association of Science Writers
- American Medical Writers Association
- Association of Health Care Journalists
- Council of Science Editors
A day in the life of ... (+/-)
Editorial Development Manager, North America
Royal Society of Chemistry (Washington DC office)
“The Royal Society of Chemistry is a scientific publisher based in the U.K., but I work in one of our U.S. offices. My team’s job is to work closely with our Executive Editors in Cambridge to raise the profile of our publishing program in the US, Canada and Mexico with the ultimate goal of increasing readership and authorship from these countries. I go to a lot of conferences and visit a lot of universities so I am often preparing for travel (setting meetings, becoming familiar with scientists’ research), traveling, or following up on travel (working with our team in Cambridge to solicit articles or providing more information to scientists on what we have discussed). Interpersonal and networking skills are very important in this field to build relationships with the community, but my team also spends time analyzing data (submissions, publications in our journals and competitors) and sets North American strategy for our journals, books and databases.”
Richard Kelly, Ph.D.
Executive Editor, Organic and Bioorganic journals
Royal Society of Chemistry (Cambridge UK office)
“As the Editor of five research journals, covering different areas of chemistry and life sciences, my role brings me into contact with some of the most important life science research – and the scientists carrying it out – on a daily basis. I lead the strategy for the journals, meaning I work with a team of dedicated editors to make sure we publish the latest research, disseminating it as widely as possible. Key to my role is ensuring that the journals meet the requirements of the communities they serve, which means I’m regularly in contact with world-leading scientists, often travelling to different continents to meet them.”
Diedre Ribbens, PhD
Technical Writing Specialist, Frestedt Incorporated
Freelance Writer and Editor, Self-Employed
"A typical day for me entails a full day at the office working with a small consulting firm where I write and edit documents for our clients in the medical device and pharma industries. To do this, I analyze clinical data, working with their marketing, regulatory and engineering teams, and present the benefits and risks of their devices in a format for review by regulatory authorities like the FDA. After work, I head home and work on one of my freelance projects: editing manuscripts for non-native English speakers, writing a science careers blog, or writing science news and journalism pieces. Both my full-time and freelance roles require a lot of time on social media, promoting either my company's work or my own work, so I need to stay up-to-date with online communities, new technologies, and science news. I love how each of my roles compliments the other, and the unique opportunities afforded therein. I get to travel for work, meeting with some of the top medical device companies in the world, and I also get to talk to some fascinating scientists for my freelance work."
Barbara Gastel, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor; Coordinator, Science Communication Graduate Program
Texas A&M University
"My work has lots of variety from day to day. So, rather than describing a typical day, I'll summarize a typical month. Usually, at least two half days per week I teach graduate courses in science writing, science editing, or related areas. Most months also include some medical school teaching, for example as a small-group leader. Each week I write blog posts for AuthorAID (a project to help researchers in developing countries to write about and publish their work) and do other work for this project. Many months include travel—be it to a national conference or overseas to lead a workshop on scientific writing. Meanwhile, there are writing projects to work on (ranging from a book review for a journal to the new edition of a book on scientific writing), and often there are editing projects. There also is the running of our science communication graduate program. And there are varied other items—such as giving talks to graduate student groups, presenting webinars, serving on university committees, and, of course, preparing for classes and grading student work. Finally, hardly a month goes by without my answering inquiries from individuals seeking nontraditional careers in science."
We thank Barbara Gastel, Jennifer Griffiths, Diedre Johnson and Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay for their assistance in compiling the above information.