Monday, June 13, 2011

Starting an Online News Magazine 101

Guest post by GWAMIT member Juliana Chan on her new startup, Asian Scientist Magazine.

Sometime after my Ph.D. in Biology in the lab of Robert Langer, and during my post-doctoral research in the lab of Roger Kamm, I started an online news magazine about R&D in Asia. The inaugural post for Asian Scientist Magazine took place three months ago on March 15, 2011.

It started as an interest in science journalism, followed by an observation that science magazines such as Wired, New Scientist, Scientific American and Nature tend to be Euro-American-centric. 2010 NSF statistics show that one-quarter of the world’s publications are from Asia and one-third of researchers worldwide are Asian. These figures suggest an inbuilt audience, but I couldn’t find an equivalent magazine for Asia. Using as little jargon as possible, our magazine highlights R&D, clinical research and biotechnology from the Australasian region. The magazine is maintained by 20 professional PhDs, MDs, and MBAs from Tsinghua, Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, University of Philippines, Monash, and University of Singapore. Our writers are full-time doctors and researchers - some even wear both hats at once - and they include five MIT women writer besides me, June-Wha Rhee (BSc ‘06), Minh-Huynh Le (BSc ‘10), Sophia Li (Bsc ’11), Grace Liao (BSc ’11) and Anusuya Das (PhD ’10).

For students currently enrolled in a graduate program, they may find useful our 7 Steps To Publishing A Scientific Paper. They may be inspired by Joichi Ito, the new Executive Director of the MIT Media Lab, who has never received a basic degree. We also like to feature international collaborations and conservation efforts in Asia. The future GWAMIT community may be able to use our Complete Guide To US Graduate School Applications which has tips about writing a recommendation letter, CV, and choosing a graduate school.

Musing over my journey so far, I have concluded that while publishing in journals indexed on PubMed is professionally rewarding, writing for my fledgling magazine has been a rewarding and gratifying experience. It has been a steep learning curve to program a website from scratch and form a team which has similar goals and motivations as me.

I welcome GWAMIT readers to experience the thrills of writing about science and medicine to a wider audience by joining us as writers and editors. Write to us at editor@asianscientist.com. Cheers!

Juliana Chan received a Ph.D. (Biology) from MIT, and a M.A., B.A. (First Class Hons.) in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, UK. Juliana’s scientific work has been featured by BBC Health, and she won the 2010 Singapore Women’s Weekly Great Women Of Our Time Award (Science & Technology). Her research interests include microfluidics and nanoparticle-based drug delivery.

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