This past year at ASPB we’ve been thinking a lot about how we can support early-career researchers no matter their career goals. One of the motivations for developing the Plantae platform has been to provide an online home for plant scientists across the globe and career spectrum, to allow informal communities and learning groups to form, and to provide a supportive environment for scientists to engage in discussion groups and develop skills as science communicators.
We’re starting to see progress on all of these fronts, and I wanted to take a moment (in recognition of Thanksgiving in the US) to thank the many people who are contributing to these ongoing efforts.
First and foremost, the Plantae Fellows who have provided crucial feedback as we explore what is truly a ground-breaking venture. In 2016 we appointed 16 Plantae Fellows, and in response to strong interest we appointed 35 Plantae Fellows in 2017. Many of the Fellows have contributed regularly to the What We’re Reading series which has just celebrated its first birthday and continues to gain readership. THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed and guest-edited – this series would not be viable without your help. (Be sure to subscribe for weekly updates, and browse topics by keywords. Students: this resource can really help when you’re tasked with finding an article to present for journal club!). Plantae Fellows are also developing learning groups and topical discussion areas – watch for more on these in 2018. Thanks also to the Plantae Steering Committee for advice, encouragement and support.
We also have several groups of early-career researchers working behind the scenes in closed groups whose work will be shared early next year. These include the Conviron Scholars, who are participating in professional development activities leading to the production of a final project to support plant science research and / or education (watch this space!). Participants in the Plant Science Research Network‘s discussion groups have also been providing crucial feedback as we work towards reimagining plant science training.
Thank you also to the many who have contributed to the Plantae Seminar Series, and online workshops and mentoring for the Plantae Fellows and Conviron Scholars. We truly appreciate you taking the time to help others in the community learn new skills and imagine their future careers. And thank you to our TapRoot podcast hosts Liz Haswell and Ivan Baxter (and Rishi Masalia with his forthcoming podcast series – coming soon!).
We also have recently appointed Assistant Features Editors for The Plant Cell, and are in the process of doing so for Plant Physiology. These Editors will be working closely with other members of the editorial boards to support the mission of the journals. As examples, we’ve started to create plain-language summaries of Plant Cell articles in a series called “Plant Cell Extracts“, and we’re working on a podcast!
And of course thank you to the many others who volunteer their time and expertise as editors and reviewers for our three journals, Plant Cell, Plant Physiology and Plant Direct, and the numerous volunteers who make sure the meetings run smoothly and the work of the ASPB committees is accomplished. Last but not least, I’d like to recognize those who support ASPB through membership and the many generous members of our community who provide addtional financial support for our efforts. THANK YOU!
It would be easy to get discouraged in these uncertain times, when education, research and the search for knowledge seem to be being undermined at every turn. Working with so many members of the plant science community over the past year both strengthens my resolve to continue the good work we have started, and fills me with hope for the future. The plant science community has a well-deserved reputation for being a generous, welcoming community, and I’m lucky enough to see this every day. So thank you all once again for your efforts in support of plant science, and Happy Thanksgiving!