Community members tell their AuthorAID stories

AuthorAID is one of INASP’s flagship initiatives. A pioneering global network, it provides support, mentoring, resources and training for researchers in low and middle income countries. AuthorAID supports over 23,000 researchers to publish and communicate their work. Over the last six years, 35,000+ participants from 135 countries have taken part in our award-winning MOOCs. 

AuthorAID is managed by INASP, and is led and facilitated by an active community, with a team of stewards based in universities and research institutions in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and a network of regular facilitators. It is kept free and open to all through partnerships with funders and sponsoring organisations. 

Every month, members of the AuthorAID community come together for an informal online event called “Tea Time with AuthorAID”. The idea for it came from the AuthorAID stewards who recognised the need for community members to be able to connect and talk freely, apart from our structured and more formal events like webinars and online courses.  

This month, AuthorAID steward Dr Zainab Yunusa Kaltungo, who is a plastic surgeon in Nigeria, hosted a Tea Time event with the theme “my 3 minute AuthorAID story”. The aim of this was to give early career researchers space to practice giving an elevator pitch by telling their journey through AuthorAID in a succinct manner. 

Zainab told her impressive story first:  
“From first being a participant on my first AuthorAID Massive Open Online Course [MOOC], today I facilitate several courses that train over 10000 participants from low- and middle-income countries. I’ve learned about increased visibility for my research work. I’ve facilitated a successful mentor-mentee cohort program for African female surgeons from all over Africa. I’ve used AuthorAID training materials from the AuthorAID courses to conduct an online training course in my institution. I’ve partnered with several other AuthorAID stewards. In fact, one of our partnerships took us to working on research together. And that has widened my research network with other associates. All of this because of AuthorAID.”

Many community members then participated and told their stories. Here are some of the things they shared about them being part of AuthorAID:

Felix Emeka, another AuthorAID steward from Nigeria:
“I have been helping in promoting the vision of [AuthorAID], which is to provide a free global network that provides scholarly support for researchers, especially those in the low- and middle-income countries. I have also been helping researchers to write about and publish their work through the AuthorAID mentoring program. And that has been really, really inspiring […] Everyone I’ve mentored or anyone that I’ve reached out to me, they’re always very motivated, to learn, and to get whatever they had brought, get resolved […] And I will contribute, and I will continue to contribute to AuthorAID.” 

A researcher from Uganda shares:
“I’m glad to be part of AuthorAID who are trying to bring new opportunities […] I’ve been able to pitch two papers that have been about management in AI.” 

Fortune Effiong from Nigeria, who is also one of AuthorAIDs community seed grant winners, said:
“I joined when I registered for the MOOC on research writing in the sciences in April this year. The first thing that really interested me about AuthorAID was the design and approach because it was self-paced, and made use of blog articles and valuable content, like discussion questions. And materials for further reading. So, putting all this together, I felt, and I still feel that it meets the needs of many medical researchers in lower- and middle-income countries. Firstly, because it was mostly blog articles, it mitigated the challenge of internet data and network coverage, because videos tend to consume much more data and requires a stronger internet broadband. Secondly, because it was self-paced, it was easy to follow. […] Thirdly, because it gives so much content, you add much value, and you know, it will definitely offer something new to you. And as a matter of fact, I published several articles now. I learned how to use Zotero. And I think the most important thing I learned in the course was the open access, subscriptions, and the publication models. Yeah, even if I’ve been publishing, I didn’t really know these things. So going forward, I think the mentorship program and journal clubs is another important thing, I was able to adapt my own personal mentorship program. I really also appreciate the Google [discussion] group. I was able to form a systematic review writing group with over 45 members from up to 10 countries. And the group is a remarkable success so far, thanks to our admins. So, I think that the opportunities [AuthorAID] provide are awesome. And it’s amazing. And I would always recommend it anytime, anywhere. Thank you very much.” 

Another researcher from Nigeria shared:
“With the knowledge I got from AuthorAID, I was able to publish a paper that that has already helped me a lot in my academic career. I was also able to network with people that are now my friends, and we have been collaborating. It’s fantastic.” 

A researcher from Sudan explains:
“I went to this platform [AuthorAID] and then I participated in one of the courses. It was very beneficial to really give me a push and increase my confidence. And then I moved forward to try to figure out more things that can help me then that even push me more to participate in one of the papers. It was it was peer review paper. And I participated. I wasn’t the first author, I was the second author, but it was well received because we published it in 2021. And now we have about 71 citations. And that was a wonderful thing for me […] And then I’m going to do more and more and more and ask for help if I [need it]. So I really appreciate your help. I hope I can be a better researcher and I’m so proud of it.” 

A researcher from Egypt comments:
“I appreciate all the efforts from AuthorAID. I have learned so many details about the publication process from the beginning and how we can add details until we can reach the publishing point. So I really want to thank you all for your efforts.” 

A researcher from Kenya said:
“I have participated in AuthorAID courses about research writing and proposal writing. And this has been instrumental in my career, especially with publishing papers. If you could highlight some of the key impacts of AuthorAID, I have recently published more than three papers, which is mainly because of the skills that I have acquired from your courses to finish and submit my manuscript.” 

AuthorAID is currently part of INASP’s Global Platforms for Equitable Knowledge Ecosystems (GPEKE) programme which is funded by Sida. To learn more about INASP’s work on digital platforms and digital learning, click here.

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