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developmental and stem cell biologists

Writing ideas for the Node

Posted by , on 16 April 2020

The Node is a community site for developmental biologists, and is driven by content written by the community – once registered, you are free to post without requiring authorisation or approval. Today I want to share some ideas for how you could contribute to the Node, during the current COVID-19 pandemic and beyond (I recently circulated these ideas in our ‘Occasional Writing Ideas’ newsletter, which you can sign up for if you register for a Node account). Blogging might be the last thing on your mind at the moment, but the chance to write and connect with other researchers across the world could provide some welcome respite.

Here are some ideas for ways you can contribute to the Node:

  • Tales from isolation
    • How are you coping being away from the lab? Do you have any tips for other researchers? This could relate to science (e.g. online training resources) or personal wellbeing/mental health.
    • We would love to hear voices from across the world – pandemic diaries from Delhi to Delaware.
    • If you prefer speaking to writing, another option is a series of short video interviews with scientists in lock-down. Get in touch if you’d like to be involved.
  • Virtual meetings/symposia/seminar series
    • Organisers – which technologies and formats worked, which didn’t?
    • Attendees – how did it compare to being there in person? Is this the future of scientific conferencing?
    • You can also use the Node to advertise your next virtual event.
  • Remote vivas
    • Have you been part of one (as examiner or examinee)? What was the experience like? Any tips for those preparing for one?
  • Lab life
    • Which aspects of lab life have/haven’t you been able to replicate online?
    • Remote lab meetings – dos and don’ts.
    • PIs – any tips for maintaining lab spirit remotely?
    • Model organisms – how are they coping without you, and how are you coping without them?
  • Behind the paper stories
    • Have you recently published a paper or preprint? Tell us the story behind it – this could feature the personal side of scientific research or go deeper into the technical details than a paper allows
  • Catching up with the literature
    • Write a ‘Research Highlight’ on a paper that recently blew you away. A good chance to try out less formal scientific writing, and help promote the science you love.
    • Our Forgotten Classics series explored unjustly overlooked papers in the history of developmental biology – we’d love to hear about your Forgotten Classic.
  • Resources
    • Our Resources page contains content on advocacy, outreach, education, audiovisuals and research – have we missed anything useful, particularly for researchers at home? Get in touch.
  • Networking
    • If you’re missing out on networking in person, why not use and join the Node Network, our global directory of developmental biology and stem cell researchers. It’s designed to help those organising conferences, looking for referees and so on to identify individuals who might not otherwise come to mind. Maybe you’ll find your future collaborators there.


If you’re interested in writing anything for the Node, I’m happy to help at any point of the process, from sketching out an outline to editing drafts to helping with the final posting of the piece. I’d also love to hear ideas for different kinds of content not explored above – just email


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