Forum 2015: Access to research: The role of AuthorAID

Dear HIFA colleagues,

This week we are exploring the question “How can health research from LMICs be made more visible and accessible?”. In our introductory message, we mentioned several programmes and initiatives, and perhaps it would be useful to say a few words about each of them. They are all represented here on HIFA, so I look forward to learn more about them.

The first project we mentioned is AuthorAID: ‘AuthorAID is a global network that provides support, mentoring, resources and training for researchers in developing countries’. ‘The AuthorAID community includes over 10,000 researchers from around the world. If you are looking for help, want to share your expertise or are searching for someone to work with, then the AuthorAID community can help!’ ‘AuthorAID is a pioneering program based at INASP. It is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). AuthorAID helps researchers in developing countries to publish and otherwise communicate their work. It also serves as a wider global forum to discuss and disseminate research.’

http://www.authoraid.info/en/

http://www.authoraid.info/en/about/

We noted that AuthorAID helps (inter alia) to support health researchers in LMICs (including and especially those who speak languages other than English) to write papers for publication. As we can see from the above description, AuthorAID provides a wide range of support and activities for researchers. As far as I know it is the leading (and perhaps the only) example of its kind and is as successful as it is needed.

When I searched on “health” on their website, I found lots of requests from health researchers looking for a mentor. This suggests perhaps that the demand is much greater than the supply? I would be grateful to hear from anyone who works with AuthorAID (whether as staff, mentor, mentee, or other capacity) whether this is indeed a challenge, and how this (and any other challenges) might be addressed.

Best wishes, Neil

Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge – Join HIFA: www.hifa2015.org  


Thank you for featuring AuthorAID (http://www.authoraid.info/en/ and http://www.authoraid.info/es/), a project primarily to help researchers in developing countries to publish and otherwise communicate their work. As a HIFA member deeply involved in AuthorAID since it began in 2007, I am delighted to reply.

AuthorAID activities include mentorship, online and face-to-face workshops, a resource library, a blog, a discussion list, and small grants to give workshops and present at conferences. As you perceived, many AuthorAID members seeking mentors are health researchers, and the demand for mentors greatly exceeds the supply. I encourage HIFA members who have not yet done so to become AuthorAID mentors. In my view, AuthorAID mentorship is a substantial service and can be highly rewarding. Registering on the AuthorAID website is quick and easy.

We would be grateful as well for other involvement by HIFA members. Examples include responding to questions posed on the AuthorAID discussion list, writing guest blog posts, suggesting or developing materials for the AuthorAID resource library, and translating AuthorAID presentations into additional languages. Those who might like to contribute in such ways can contact me at bgastel@inasp.info.

HIFA colleagues also can help extend our effort by encouraging others to join AuthorAID and by using AuthorAID resources in their work. The AuthorAID resource library (http://www.authoraid.info/en/resources/) contains many presentations and other materials on research communication and related topics. We are pleased to have others use or adapt these items.

My thanks to Neil and others who have been supporting or taking part in AuthorAID. We hope to welcome many more HIFA members as mentors or other participants in the AuthorAID community.

Regards to all,

Barbara

HIFA profile: Barbara Gastel, a physician specializing in biomedical editing and writing, is a Professor at Texas A&M University, where she coordinates the master’s degree program in science and technology journalism. She plays a lead role in AuthorAID, a project based at INASP. bgastel AT cvm.tamu.edu

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