My Mozilla Open Leaders #00

I started a new adventure and I’m gonna tell you everything about it!

I’m a PhD candidate a little bit nut: in addition to being a full-time scientist with the lab coat and protection gloves — yes, it’s just like in the movies! ;P — I also love spending time figuring out how to best communicate what I do to the non-specialists, those who are not exactly doing what I do every day! And since passions are best when shared, I started a project to make other scientists excited about science communication as much as I am. It takes a lot of work, sometimes it gets a little messy, but in the end everything works out and it is really, really gratifying!

Lucky for me, I don’t have to do this alone because there is an entire community out there ready to help with making my project open and available to everyone. I recently applied to be part of the Mozilla Open Leaders, a training program that allows people interested in “open everything” (open knowledge, free web, open science, open data, etc.) to receive guidance on an open project management and best spread these ideas in their communities.

My project was selected for the 5th round (yaayy!! \o/), which started about 4 weeks ago. I am currently mentored by the amazing Daniela Saderi, co-founder of a project that I absolutely love: PREreview, a web platform that allows researchers to share reviews to preprints after discussions at journal clubs. She is helping me figuring out my goals and strategize on how to best achieve them, all in the open! How does an open project work? How should I lead a team of volunteers interested in contributing to my project? What about licenses? What do I do after the project is completed? I’ll find out all of that with her and the rest of the Mozilla community’s help.

My/Our project

Now I’ll tell you about my project, that I hope will become ours. If you get interested, you are more than welcome to join! ❤

I told you I’m passionate about science communication. But why is that? Science communication, or SciComm, as it’s often referred to, helps us scientists extend the impact of our efforts, pushes us out of our comfort zones — I’m an extremely shy person and I would not be writing on this platform if it weren’t for my desire to scream to the world how awesome and necessary SciComm is! In addition, I really believe it is through science outreach in which we scientists share our work that we help empower others with the tools to make better choices, or at the very least, more informed ones.

But SciComm cannot happen if scientists don’t know what it is, or do not value its importance. And that’s how IGNITE was born. Just like that, all caps and bold! The goal is to put up a fun and short workshop about science communication aimed at young scientists, especially grad students. I want to inspire, train, and collaborate with other scientists to make SciComm part of every scientists’ life. It is important for me to share with other scientists the amazing benefits of science outreach, something that should not be seen only as an alternative career option, but as a set of skills that would complement and improve our careers as scientists.

As part of Mozilla Open Leaders program I am developing the workshop syllabus, which might cover several ways of communicating science. If everything goes well, I hope to promote a first try of the workshop in July, after the Mozilla Global Sprint (see below).

How can you help?

IGNITE GitHub repository is ready and waiting for you contribution! The first step is to develop the content of the workshop’s lessons: communication basics, writing, audio, video, images, and talks. We would also love someone that could help with our visual identity or our website (a GiHub Pages would be great). We will need help with translations and funding (if you know where we can apply for funding to promote a workshop, you can send us suggestions!). Finally, if you have one or more skill related to SciComm and would like to help others get up there, you can sign up to be a facilitator. For example, if you are a photographer, you can sign yourself up to teach photography to the workshop participants. To learn more about how to contribute, read the contribution guidelines. For any question, don’t hesitate to contact me at graciellehigino[at] gmail [dot] com.

The Global Sprint

You might be wondering when it would be the best time to contribute? The answer is anytime, but if you would also like to meet other people passionate about SciComm and Open Science, join us for the Mozilla Global Sprint, a two-day, super fun hackathon that will take place worldwide on May 10–11. IGNITE will be there, ready to work with you all! I will be available 9–5 (UTC -3) over the course of the two days to work on IGNITE with you. Keep an eye on the issues on the GitHub repository, as we will be posting there precise instructions on how to best contribute. Thank you!

If you liked the idea and want to help, you can follow the updates here in Medium, on GitHub, Twitter, Instagram or email. I count on you to embarc and succeed on this crazy adventure initiated by an equally crazy and passionate grad student! ❤


Thanks to Daniela Saderi for the review and improvement of this piece.