In July of last year, the editors of Careers in Nature began publishing the column regularly, which eventually became known as the Careers Community, on Nature.com. These pieces are written by scientists with editing assistance from the Nature team, and are intended to share the author’s personal experience and what others can learn from it.
For example, an article by Jasper Alan Hunt in his personal statement for his graduate-school application outlines the struggles he faced when explaining a gap in his career history—and some of the others he gives similar advice.
He writes, “By carefully considering the story you want to tell, writing several drafts, and getting feedback from trusted mentors, personal statements are an opportunity for graduate school to clear any doubts about your qualifications.” Maybe, as well as tell a personal success story.”
The careers community has been a smashing success. Columns are one of the most widely read article types on the Nature website, and are a way for working scientists to share their opinions and feelings about their lives in research. They have also been a place for scientists to be creative by turning individual failure or struggle into a valuable lesson for the wider community.
Now we get tons of pitches every day, and our small team of editors try to reach them as quickly as possible. If you’re interested in writing for us, here’s how:
Be detailed in your experiences
When pitching us, be generous with detail: we need this in order to properly assess your offer. Include your own experience engaging with an issue, and how what you learned may apply to other working scientists.
Remember, we seek personal history associated with help and advice
We need to understand what advice you would give to other scientists and why you are the right person to share it. Please try to clarify both the points.
Read what we have already published
The best way to understand what we’re looking for in the last section is to read what’s already built into it. See what we’ve published in the past.
Beware Our Non-Academic Tone
The careers community is not the place to publish primary research findings, and we will not accept academic papers. Please use an informal tone and avoid jargon in your piece and pitch.
It doesn’t need to be perfect when it comes to us
It’s our job as editors to help you improve your writing and add value to your article. Please don’t feel that you have to make something perfect before sending it to us.
All rules are made to be broken
All of the above advice is designed to be most helpful to most submissions. But there are always exceptions to the rule – and if you think you have something that’s worth a look at us but doesn’t fit the criteria above, feel free to get in touch.