Last year, students from eight schools in the United States and Canada participated in a highly successful online conference to publish original synthetic biology papers and artwork in BioTreks, a peer reviewed high school synthetic biology journal. This year, 14 new and returning schools from North America and Asia have registered for the event.
BioTreks takes a unique approach to peer review by encouraging authors and other conference attendees to critically review and comment on each other’s work via inline text and video chat. This allows students to gain valuable experience writing and reviewing scientific manuscripts while providing a convenient venue in which professional researchers can share their own insights and experiences with the students.
Judges contribute to the program’s success by positively engaging with the students during the conference and recognizing teams for excelling at key aspects of the scientific writing, design, and peer review processes. This year, we need judges more than ever, as students prepare to present a total of 18 manuscripts at the 29 April BioTreks event!
Judging is a highly flexible and rewarding experience that takes place entirely online over a relaxed, six-week period. Here’s how it works:
- On 21 April students will post their papers and artwork online. Judges will have the following week to review and formulate questions on the the 3-4 submissions to which they’ve been assigned.
- On 29 April, students, mentors, judges, and the general public will convene online to discuss student submissions via text and video chat. Afterwards, students will have until 2 June to incorporate guidance from conference participants into their drafts.
- On 9 June, judges will render their final reviews of student work by answering a number of questions in a simple online form. These forms will be used to award achievement badges to deserving teams.
Please take a moment to contact us if you’re interested in judging or would simply like to participate as an observer. We desperately need talented researchers and educators to make BioTreks 2017 a worthwhile experience for the students.
This post was contributed by David Rozak who started BioTreks.