The role of a Science Borealis subject/contributing editor

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We don’t require our contributing editors to have degrees in science, but we believe interest in science, good understanding of the scientific process, and insatiably curiosity about how and why the world works are essential criteria. Our contributing editors must also have reasonable writing skills, a good feel for audience, narrative and what makes a good story, and be able to take constructive editorial criticism with grace.

The responsibilities of a Science Borealis subject/contributing editor include the following:

  • Writing an article for Science Borealis in weekly rotation with the other contributing editors (every 8–12 weeks; 4–6 posts/year).
  • Supporting each other by taking part in pitch sessions and other community activities in our Slack channels.
  • Helping promote member blog posts via social media by watching the syndicated-blog feed and writing Facebook/Twitter posts about syndicated blog posts.
  • Sharing relevant news items/events with the Science Borealis community and Core Team.

We recognize that writing an article every 8–12 weeks can be demanding, so to help candidates determine if Science Borealis is a good fit for them, our editorial candidates undertake a trial period. The trial period is essentially a five-week, hands-on editorial practicum.

The trial period allows us to put candidates through their paces and them to put us through our paces. If it doesn’t work out, no hard feelings on either side. But if it does work out, at the end of the trial, we will invite the candidate to stay on for six months – and, having gone through the process, the candidate will have a much better idea whether they want to accept our invitation.

If they do accept, they’ll be invited to recommit every six months. The recommitment option allows subject/contributing editors to assess their availability for each upcoming six-month period and to bow out gracefully if they prefer not to stay on.


What you get from Science Borealis

In return for our subject/contributing editors’ commitment, Science Borealis offers:

  • our five-week, hands-on practicum (trial period)
  • professional editors to help our subject/contributing editors polish their articles during the editorial process
  • publication of their articles on Canada’s premiere general-interest science blog
  • promotion of their articles on Science Borealis channels by our Outreach team
  • an engaged online science-communications community that shares and discusses ideas and events, and provides support during pitches, research, and the writing process
  • access to curated job postings for science communications positions in Canada

Can you apply to cover particular subjects?

Well, yes, you can. However, please be aware that we may ask you to cover other subject areas instead. We may, for example, have gaps in our coverage that require filling. We also seek to balance the expertise of the subject editors covering each beat to help ensure broad coverage of that subject area over the year. Ultimately, we look at Science Borealis as an ecosystem and identify where niches need to be filled and who on the editorial roster would best fill them.

This benefits our editors by helping them stretch and grow beyond their particular areas of expertise and makes them better able to apply that expertise beyond Science Borealis. In the end, being able to write well across a range of science subject areas better prepares our subject editors for careers in science communications.


Changing beats on the editorial team

Some of our subject editors have been writing for us for years. Others stay for a year or two, then move on. This means the list of open subject/contributing editor positions changes frequently. When a position opens, we invite you to contact the managing editor to express your interest.

Check our editorial postings here>


Other resources in this series

Writing for Science Borealis: Our writing practicum for editorial candidates

The Science Borealis editorial cycle

Guidelines for articles published on Science Borealis

Pitching an article for Science Borealis

Working with our senior editors

Using and crediting images in Science Borealis articles

Promoting your articles


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