AuthorAid: supporting researchers from around the world

8 Jan 2023

AuthorAID is a free pioneering global network that provides support for researchers in low- and middle-income countries. The online platform offers free online mentoring and collaboration, online courses and resources. There are currently over 14,000 members from 175 countries.

Dr Rebecca Dewey, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Physics and Astronomy, explains how she got involved.

I got involved in AuthorAid around 2019; I set up a profile on the site stating which skills I felt I could offer, and very quickly, researchers from around the world started to get in touch. I first started working with a pharmacist in Egypt trying to improve the reporting of adverse drug reactions. We had e-mail conversations about the analysis of some existing data and together we wrote a paper for submission to peer review. I carried on working with the pharmacist throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, co-designing experiments and writing them up.

We quickly put together and published a study in reaction to the pandemic. It has received a lot of interest and over 100 citations.

Many researchers have since come to me with a drafted paper and ask me to help with the English. I edit the paper, asking any clarifying questions I need and/or suggesting the addition of further information. Once all authors are happy, they then submit the paper, hopefully achieving publication in higher-impact journals than they would otherwise have done. Depending on the level of my involvement in the design, analysis, or writing/editing of the work, I may even become a co-author of such papers.

A co-authored paper that I’m particularly proud has the potential to improve quality of life in Cambodia, and was one of the first of my co-authored AuthorAid papers to be accepted for publication in an open access journal.

I have worked with 42 researchers from across over 20 countries, contributing to over a hundred papers, and co-authoring 46 published articles to date, covering many topics. I have helped aspiring academics secure PhD studentships and research placements, and contributed to funding applications, job applications, and preparation for job interviews.

Much of the work being done is in the field of public health, and as such, getting the article published is only the start, and I have been part of the process of preparing reports and policy recommendations to government and non-government agencies. I thoroughly enjoy this volunteering work as it gives me such breadth of experience and topics to learn about.

It’s very rewarding to see individual studies and articles, as well as the researchers and their groups, grow over time and gain the experience of publishing in ‘Western’ or ‘Global North’ English language journals with thorough peer-review systems. I feel warmly appreciated in a global network of researchers that I would not have had any interaction with otherwise.

Rebecca Dewey

Dr Rebecca Dewey works as a Senior Research Fellow in neuroimaging at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre. In collaboration with the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and other partners, she uses MRI and electrophysiology to improve our understanding of hearing and deafness. Her research is also helping improve brain imaging and treatments for people with implanted auditory prostheses, such as cochlear implants.