Speaking of Research is a group of like-minded researchers and science communicators. We have flourished over the last 8.5 years thanks to the hard work of a committee that has come together to help each other, as well as fellow researchers and institutions. Despite having a budget of about $200/year, we have come together to build one of the biggest resources about animal research on the internet. We believe that openness about animal research is the best way to win over public and policymakers. But, we need your help to achieve this.
The SR committee is an ever-changing group of around 20 people who are motivated to make a change in the way we talk about animal research. The committee is made up of people from across North America and Europe, but we would also welcome people from further afield to help us understand the animal research environment in other countries.What type of people on the committee?
- Scientists who use animals in their research – be it fruit flies, mice or monkeys. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Masters student or a tenured professor, your support is valued.
- Veterinarians who work within animal research facilities.
- Animal care technicians who work to look after animals in laboratories.
- Science communicators, particularly those who do media relations or public engagement for an institution conducting animal research or relevant society.
What does the committee do?
- Writing – this is one of the key jobs of our central committee – ensuring that there is new material on the website (and updating existing pages). People write about their own research, research in the news, debunking misinformation by activists, responding to policy changes and much more. Not a great writer? Some of our best articles are produced by guest authors, but we still need to be the ones to find those people.
- Social Media – we need people to help put science news on Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels.
- Sharing news and information. Seen some amazing new medical breakthrough? Information about animal activism?
- Networking – From individuals and institutions wanting to become more actively involved in animal research outreach, to those targeted by activism, the SR committee works to support scientists and institutions worldwide.
- Media work – We are often required to give comments to journalists, or occasionally appear on radio and TV. Having numerous people prepared to step up to the plate is always useful. We have worked with committee members to train them in talking to the media. We also put our press releases and produce briefing materials for journalists.
- Conferences – Speaking of Research members have often spoken about animal research outreach at conferences including Society for Neuroscience and AALAS.
SR member talking about the importance of openness on the BBC.
How can I join the committee?
Contact us! We’d love to hear from you, even if you just have some questions. We ask new members to write an article for the website to show their interest in explaining animal research (we can help advise on topics, as well as provide support in editing and proofing any drafts).
What am I expected to do on the committee?
We do understand that our careers often mean there are periods where we are unable to help, but hope you find some time to contribute in some manner to Speaking of Research’s goals.
- Email List – the committee communicates through an email list. While we don’t expect everyone to reply to every email, we do ask that people contribute their knowledge or support occasionally.
- Blog – We ask every committee member to contribute one article every four months (or to find a colleague who might contribute a guest post). This ensures we have a minimum amount of news on the website (thankfully, some committee members contribute much more). Articles tend to be 400-1500 words, but we are very flexible.
- Contribute – We hope committee members find other ways of contributing. Some people keep an eye out for new statistics, some people look out for institutional animal research statements, and some people help post on social media. Whatever you can do, we welcome the help.
I’m not ready for the committee, but I still want to help!
We have written extensively on other ways you can help us.
- Check what your institution says about its animal research[2 minutes]
- Get them to add a link to Speaking of Research[3 minutes]
- Help share Speaking of Research’s message on social media[3 minutes]
- Send us a picture[10 minutes]
- Speak up about YOUR research[30 minutes]
While all our committee are volunteers, we still require a small amount of funding to keep our website going and carry out small outreach activities (we have produced posters for conferences and promoted articles on social media). Donating just €10/£10/$10 is a huge help to our efforts in explaining the important role of animals in medical and veterinary research.
The Speaking of Research committee