Quick update on January 10: Thank you for an inbox full of applications! I will try to write back to each of you personally and set up a rotating publication scheme. I hope I have time to set something up over the upcoming weekend!
I’ve been running my Microbiome Digest blog almost continuously for 2.5 years. And it will come as no surprise that this has been slowly taking more and more of my time. So today’s post is about realizing that I will be needing some help to keep on running it.
The first Microbiome Digest post was on May 21, 2014. Click on the link to see how short it is, and compare that with the posts from the last couple of days. It took me more than 4 hours to prepare Thursday’s post!
The microbiome field has been growing a lot over the past few years, and I get more and more alerts and numbers of new papers to go through every day. Just look at the steady increase of the number of papers in the microbiome field on Pubmed. There is no sign that it’s slowing down anytime soon!
Before Microbiome Digest was online, I had already been sending out nearly daily literature update emails to my Stanford coworkers for a couple of months. So in the past 3 years, I have been going through my alerts and preparing posts almost every day. After long days of lab work or data analysis. When I was writing a grant proposal. In the weekends. While traveling for work. On vacations. When I was sick. After the funeral of my sister. After burying my cat. At 1 AM. In hotel rooms and at airports, but usually at home.
Preparing the daily Digest has gradually taken away all my free time. I have not watched TV in years. I have no idea what Game of Thrones is. Or West World. No time. The Digest always came first. On some days, it was easy. Just 30 papers to scan. On others, it was hundreds. There were days when I cried to see 10 new long Google Scholar alerts come in. But I always kept on going, because I did not want to disappoint my readers. However, the amount of work is starting to take away my 8 hours of sleep, and the past months have been very tough, and I’ve decided that I need to delegate some work to someone else.
So: I am looking for a couple of people who can help me run my blog. It would involve going through the alerts I have set up, selecting interesting papers, checking if they have already been posted in the previous days, sorting them in categories, getting the links to the papers, and write and publish a blog post via Wordpress. Ideally, we would have enough people in our team so we could all take turns, only have to do this once a week, with the flexibility to switch in case of the occasional travel or illness. I usually do the work at night to prepare for the next morning, but it could also be done in the early morning. As long as we can continue to post every day around 9am Pacific time.
The ideal person to do this job would be / have:
- Graduate student or postdoc
- Working on human, animal, plant, or environmental microbiome
- Can commit to a block of 2-4 hours on a set day of the week
- Experience using PubMed and Google Scholar
- Reliable person with reliable access to computer and internet
- Interest in science writing/science communication
Just to make sure, this is a voluntary, unpaid position. But it will help you to stay on top of the microbiome literature, never run out of papers to contribute for Journal Club, broaden your network, and expand your resume and experience.
Please contact me at my gmail address (see below), using “Microbiome Digest Help” as the subject line – the ability to follow instructions will be part of the selection process 😀 – and only contact me if you can seriously commit to at least one night per week. Just a one-paragraph description of who you are, what your topic of research is, and why you would love to be part of this new team is enough. No need to send a resume or CV. Thanks!