eLife Community Ambassadors: A summary of their latest achievements

Celebrating the global impact and achievements of eLife’s Community Ambassadors.

Now in its third iteration, the eLife Community Ambassadors programme has built on the success and the learnings of the previous three sessions. The latest programme brought together 128 early career researchers from over fifty countries and many scientific disciplines. United in their shared passion for open science and to change research culture for the better, Early-Career Researchers as ambassadors have led sustainable and scalable initiatives that continue to grow, even beyond the activism phase that ended in September 2023.

The ambassadors represent the interests of their regional and local science communities, acting as bridges and voices. Each ambassador also represents overlapping and intersectional communities: their local research and discipline communities, the communities surrounding their research culture interests, and communities around race, gender, sexuality, disability, socio-economic backgrounds, and more. Their diverse life experiences and community insights are crucial for the program's success and for enhancing global research culture, bridging gaps and driving change and innovation.

We would like to express our gratitude and admiration for the incredible work, events and projects our community ambassadors have contributed to. While we describe the projects here by region to highlight the global impact of their efforts, many of these initiatives were collaborative efforts between ambassadors and groups in multiple regions.

Global Initiatives

As well as serving the needs of local research communities around the world, many initiatives run by our Community Ambassadors crossed borders and timezones in truly global collaborations.

Africa Ambassadors:

  • Created the African Reproducibility Network (AREN) to provide training and support for researchers adopting open science practices in their research
  • Published a preprint encouraging scalable and meaningful collaboration: ‘Ten Simple Rules for Successful and Sustainable African Research Collaboration’
  • Founded a podcast ‘Discovering Africa Thru Technology’ that promotes African research, knowledge, technology, and innovation to solve African challenges
  • Organised ‘Sense of Belonging Circle’, an online event facilitating a safe space for all women to come and discuss the topic of belonging in science spaces
  • Worked on the Reusable open methods and protocols to improve reporting; provided feedback and recommendations to reduce barriers to implementation
  • Gave talks, presentations, and interviews throughout the program on diverse topics from transparency, open science, water sustainability, eLife’s new publishing model, and leadership and mentoring
  • Translated numerous resources, including PREreview’s Open Peer Reviewers in Africa Trainer Guide into Arabic and French
Fig 1. Sense of Belonging Circle Women in Science event poster
Fig 2. Prof. Salem Youssef Mohamed lectured about open science in the faculty of medicine, Faqous branch, Zagazig University, Egypt.

Central and Eastern Asia Ambassadors

  • Organised and hosted an Open Science in Asia event, inviting editors, researchers, fellow Ambassadors and Early-Career Advisory Group (ECAG) members as well as organisations such as the Chinese Open Science Network to a panel discussion
  • Created an event for new Principal Investigators in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss setting up and sustaining a lab
  • Supported the creation and hosting of the Women in Science event in March 2023, as well as attending the eLife Women's Day event and founding the Parents in Research initiative, with a focus on Mothers in Science for International Women's Day
  • Wrote articles advocating steps toward a healthier research culture ‘Baby steps toward uprooting toxicity from academia’, and ’Let’s get rid of confidential ‘reference letters’ in academia — a tool misused by abusive supervisors’
  • Discussed open access, preprints and more at “Open Research For Budding Scientists in the Global South'' initiative
  • Organised and participated in numerous open science events, including the ASCS2022 Asian Student Council Symposium
  • Participated in the PREreview workshops, as well as translated resources with fellow Ambassadors

Europe ambassadors

Fig 3. Open Science, Preprints and Peer Review in Asia event poster
Fig 4.

Latin America

Fig 6. Achicopaladito, the mascot of the team working on mental health in Mexico
Fig 7: Mexican team working in the Mexican Survey on Mental Health in the Scientific Community

Middle East and Western Asia Ambassadors:

  • Championed open science through organising, hosting and presenting on the topic throughout their institutions, such as Lebanon Open Science talk
  • Introduced and co-hosted events such as the ‘Introduction to Social Research for Researchers’
  • Drove forward women's day events with a women in STEM video creation to enable young researchers to see themselves as a scientist and to reach out to role models and mentors in their field

North America Ambassadors

Oceania Ambassadors:

  • Worked with the rest of the global Ambassadors to drive forward events and discuss initiatives from the importance of systemic change from funders and universities in the initiative ‘Accountability from the Top’ to the need to have a review system for lab work environments for the wellbeing of researchers
  • Joined other advisory groups such as Sciety, the preprint curation platform and created and attended workshops to improve research communication and reproducibility

Hear from our Ambassadors

Africa Ambassadors

“I learned that regardless of career level, no opinion is wasted, as we all might have different viewpoints on particular issues. The initiatives birthed during the program made me realise the true power of collaboration.”
Andrew Abagai Ali, Rhodes University, South Africa

“The wide range of topics allowed a broader and holistic view of the issues that need addressing in the global research ecosystem, and this was complemented by the diverse community, which provided different perspectives during discussions. Being part of this community, I found the enthusiasm from fellow ambassadors towards providing solutions to some of the problems faced by the global research ecosystem and the excellent support provided by the eLife team and community spurring me on.”
Emmanuel Boakye, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana (Founder of AREN)

“I learned how critical it is to be open-minded when reviewing articles or manuscripts. I also learned to work with peers and consider their views when making decisions. Finally, l learned that opportunities exist in every aspect of one's field of study; l just need to take bold initiative.“
James Seutra Kaba, Kwame Nkrumah University of science and technology, Ghana

“eLife community ambassadors program has contributed to my personal growth while promoting science and practical communication and fostering strong connections. Learning from others by exploring approaches and finding common ground has been excellent.”
Morufu Olalekan Raimi, Federal University Otuoke, Nigeria.

“I've gained a strong understanding of open science principles and how to support its adoption within the research community actively. The collaborative workshops with fellow ambassadors from different regions were enlightening.”
Prudence Masanga, Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Tanzania

“The program made me understand the importance of open science and access while discovering other aspects, such as equity, inclusion, and diversity. It further helped me to discover myself by making an advocate for open science and access in my region.”
Roseline Dzekem Dine, Rinda Ubuzima, Rwanda

“The months of learning and community building enabled me to hone my skills and confidence in open science, research reproducibility, and science communication.”
Samuel Eziuzor, Nigeria/ University of British Columbia - Okanagan, Canada

“I have gained knowledge and skills in promoting an open culture in science and research and a skill set for effectively reviewing research.”
Sumaya Kambal, National University-Sudan.

Central and Eastern Asia Ambassadors

“I got to meet with other global ambassadors to exchange views on different fields and scientific trends.”
Baicheng Huang, National Research Center for Veterinary Medicine, China

“I learned an Incredible set of tools which can be used to promote open science initiatives. The enthusiasm of everyone involved in the program, particularly those who are managing tons of activity at eLife. I learned about the importance of open science and how to contribute to the improvement of it.

As an early career researcher, I gained insight into the changing landscape of scientific communication including open access and pre-print publication movements as well as inclusive international interactions.

Meeting other global ambassadors was the highlight for me, though I also enjoyed some of the workshops.

Meeting other global Ambassadors, workshops in helping make Science more inclusive, showcase of eLife's initiative to make Science more accessible and open to more groups of people

This program allowed me to follow and promote transparent science, as well as meeting Global Ambassadors and learning from their experiences.”

“I used to think that the problems in the research culture, the disconnect and lack of infrastructure are only in my country. Through this program, I met researchers across the world and looking and understanding their journeys made me realize that problems are everywhere, we just need to come up with better and smarter solutions to counter them. I also liked meeting other global ambassadors which helped me become a better researcher.”
Devanshi Gupta, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), India

“There are groups of people on different challenges that the scientific community has been facing. Basically, you are not alone if you want to take action!”
Fatma Betul Dincaslan, National University of Singapore, Singapore

“As an ambassador, my favorite part of the Ambassadors program is the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other global ambassadors. The exchange of ideas and experiences with like-minded people from different backgrounds is very inspiring and enriching. It fosters a strong sense of community and allows for valuable networking and knowledge sharing.”
Joshua Liu, University of Macau, Macau (Special Administrative Region of China)

“My favourite part was the group discussions with other global ambassadors and learning about their ideas. I also enjoyed the initiative to promote preprint submission and post online reviews”Manoj Kumar, CSIR-Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology, India

“I enjoyed learning on research leadership and the importance of pre-prints in a research career. The interactive session in between ambassadors are my most favourite.”
Mohamed Najeeb Sikkander Mohamed Yoonus Imran, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka

“The eLife Community Ambassadors program taught me that collaboration, open communication, and the establishment of a supportive global network are essential elements in shaping the future of research. I am grateful for the friendships I've formed, the knowledge I've gained, and the meaningful contributions we made together during my time as an ambassador."
Muhammad Noman, former scientist at National Institute for Genomics & Advanced Biotechnology, Pakistan, current postdoctoral fellow at the Federal University of Lavras, Brazil.

“I learned to engage in a community that is helping and uplifting for peers and about research ethics and stuff that has been really helpful to me for my personal and professional growth.”
Navpreet Kaur, Punjab Agricultural University, India

“I learned a lot about sustainability in science, good scientific practices, preprints, how to build a community, and how to contribute to make it better. I also got the opportunity to interact and work with fellow ambassadors and it was a fulfilling experience altogether. My favourite part was the PRE-review workshop, where we all signed up for pre-reviewing and worked on reviewing a manuscript together. I enjoyed the activity!”
Pallavi Raj Sharma, Indian Institute of Science, India

“Being a part of this program was really helpful for me being a person having access to limited resources although at this stage of being a researcher. Getting information regarding different concepts like open science, reproducibility in science, and most importantly peer reviewing are those which I believe will help me in my future.”
Sajidha Mohammed, University of Calicut, India

“As an ambassador, I have learned many important things that are difficult to thoroughly consider in my usual work due to time constraints. In particular, being able to discuss open science, the peer review system, and researchers' mental health with scientists around the world has given me important perspectives for my future life. The eLIFE community team strongly supported the activities of the ambassadors and provided many learning opportunities. I am grateful to everyone who was involved.”
Kazuya Horibe, Osaka University, Japan

Europe Ambassador

“I felt empowered to pursue the topics that were of interest to me and it was a great way to learn skills related to diverse types of activism in the workshops! Diversity, inclusiveness, and openness should be keystone to creating a healthy science community.”

“There is way too many things to highlight from the programme, so I will name a few: (1) work with individuals from multiple diverse backgrounds, (2) initiate and organize events, (3) promote open science locally..meeting many of like-minded people worldwide, and be able to work together to make waves that might change the current research culture.”
Lei Zhang, University of Vienna, Austria

“It made me a better scientist by engaging in topics such as peer review, reproducibility, and inclusion in science. I also had the opportunity to meet scientists from around the world and have contact with relevant topics of the scientific community.”
Margarida Viola, UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands

“Preprints were a novel insight for me. Moreover, I learned a lot about reviewing preprints through the PreReview workshops. Organizing an "Open Science Workshop" for the Einstein Foundation as one of the co-organizers with five other fellow ambassadors was truly an inspiration”
Nalaka Wijekoon, Maastricht University, Netherlands

“A community of people with shared passion can make a lot of positive impact on the society”
Yahaya A. Yabo, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Latin American Ambassadors

“I received many learnings, but the three most important were: A) I learned about mental health and how to try to apply in my home, my life, my laboratory, my students, chief and partners. I could made changes in my life and I feel my life is better. B) That all the people related with the program, specially Ailís, are alert to help you. C) I feel more confident no matter my English level, because English is not may main language, I was very nervous at the beginning, but, also can be difficult the interaction, I did not feel excluded by any participant or organicer from the eLife community. Many thanks, you really changed my life.”
Christian Molina-Aguilar, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, Mexico

Middle East/Western Asia Ambassadors

I’ve learnt that change can start from a single person/initiative, even just one voice advocating for a better future. That every positive change, even if it’s in your small community/circle, is a step forward towards achieving better an improved culture in academia.”
Adviti Naik, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Qatar

“I received in-depth information on many topics important for academics, including: mental health in academia, preprints, scientific social media and career development.”

“Meeting other global Ambassadors since we got to listen to the different hardships faced from different countries and institutions - I gained a better idea on how research is handled and published.”
Hazem Daou, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

“Attending these meetings has extended my knowledge in many aspects, but I do feel like the two most prominent topics for me were: leadership in research and science policy; I believe a rational allocation of resources and thoughtful leadership have the potential to shape the scientific environment and stimulate research productivity in any field or place around the globe, In addition to getting to know the eLife Community Ambassadors Program team, I got to engage with more than 120 early-career researchers from 51 countries who represent the global research community.” Khaled Sagheer, National Community College for Medical and Applied Sciences, Yemen

North America Ambassadors

“The Ambassadors programme was a humbling and learning lesson. The two opportunities that stood out to me were: 1. The Languages of Science event. It created awareness of the dependency on English as the language of science and how it creates barriers for non-English speaking countries.

2. Interacting with Ambassadors from all across the World, made me realize that we share a common bond of "love of science" and the challenges that science faces can be best addressed by collective efforts.”
Ankita Arora, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, USA

“I liked the workshop and training sections the most besides extending my global network among early career researchers. I feel much confident talking about these topics to peers compared to before joining this programme.”
Anuj Sharma, Princeton University, USA

it was really good to form a community of like-minded people who are struggling with the same things in academia and coming up with ideas/initiatives to make academia a better place to do science.
Dinesh Natesan, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

“We are not alone in our struggles, and meeting and sharing experiences can take us a long way.”Sandhya Prabhakaran, Moffitt Cancer Center, USA

“It was a great opportunity to connect with ECRs from different parts of the world and realize how many of the systemic issues we face are universal and that we are as a generation of new scientists thinking about changing things in complementary and collaborative ways. Ideating with other ambassadors - change is harder and turning ideas into reality even moreso, but the opportunity provided much hope and also momentum for more achievable ideas that I will be continuing to work on”

“The importance of dialogue and collaboration between researchers across the Global South and the Global North to drive a global change of research culture. In the end, we all (researchers from all parts of the world) face similar challenges, but efforts and movements to change should be approached by upholding pressing issues such language justice, diversity, inclusion, equity and practicing them while we work together towards the aspired cultural change in Science.”
Verena Claudia Haage, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, USA

“Most importantly – the forefront of new way of publishing eLife has established to increase the integrity, rigor, and reproducibility of our research.”
Yuliya Voskobiynyk, Gladstone Institutes/UCSF, USA

I have been very grateful to the eLife Ambassador program. It touches base on different topics in academic learning such as mental health, reproducibility in science, meta-analysis, disability. And recommend this program to all scientific trainees in the world. It not only helped me meet other researchers across the globe and learn about scientific research and policies around the world, but also gives us opportunities to bring about a change in research culture. Besides that, this program personally helped to believe in my values and thoughts and pitch my voice.
Ruchika Bajaj, University of California San Francisco

“Science-art transforms complex scientific revelations into aesthetically appealing images—a personalized method of science communication. I envision periodic sci-art events in every department and research institution, fostering scientists' creativity and strengthening their connection with the general public. Let's integrate science and art across scientific disciplines, blurring the boundaries between the two”
Suhaila Rahman

Oceania Ambassadors

“Reviewing manuscripts for eLife has been a unique way to pay forward and enrich the open-publishing model that eLife is pushing forward. I look forward to submitting my very own work shortly.”
Osvaldo Contreras, The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and UNSW Sydney, Australia.

“This programme provided me with a holistic view on how we can make science more open, more accessible and more reproducible - core values that I will promote into my new lab.”
Simone Li, Monash University, Australia.


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