March 2, 2007

‘Editors’ Club’ set to help scientists

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Gary Morris, left, and other members of the Editors’ Club discuss ways to help researchers better develop their papers for submission to scientific and medical journals. (photo by Susan Urmy)

‘Editors’ Club’ set to help scientists

A new — and free — scientific editing service has been established at Vanderbilt University Medical Center by the Office of Biomedical Research Education and Training.

More than 20 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in the “Editors' Club” are available to help researchers develop manuscripts for submission to scientific and medical journals.

While they do not evaluate the scientific merit of publications, the editors provide expertise in language usage, punctuation and manuscript organization, said Jason Mann, Ph.D., the club's editor-in-chief and an M.D./Ph.D. student.

Mentored by Vivian Siegel, Ph.D., director of the Center for Science Communication, the club also is open to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows interested in careers in technical writing and scientific editing.

Beginning March 6, the club will hold office hours every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Siegel's office, room S-3408 in Medical Center North.

While the club accepts online submissions, “we are hoping that people will take advantage of the office hours so that our efforts can be more directed toward their individual needs,” said Elizabeth Rula, the club's secretary and a graduate student in Pharmacology.

Editors also are available to meet outside of the office hours, she said.

One of the club's goals is to maintain and enhance Vanderbilt's international reputation in biomedical research “by striving for clarity in all forms of written communication.”

“Writing is at the heart of effective scientific communication,” the club's mission statement concludes. “Without effective communication skills, investigators' conclusions remain unknown and are rendered useless to the scientific community.”

For more information, e-mail the club at or visit its Web site at