Adam Thompson: Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Erewash

Adam Thompson

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On the road to Labour's science publishing house

Below is a recent blog post I published on Scientists for Labour’s website, in my capacity as Vice Chair (policy).

Those of you that follow our blog regularly may remember that, in October, we put a call out recruiting members for the inaugural Scientists for Labour (SfL) Editorial Board (EB). This new committee was to be tasked with ensuring homogeneity and editorial rigour across our policy documents, as well as creating a clear and concise style guide for all SfL documents, developing consistent formatting and referencing guidelines that will present easy access to our source material from our outputted documents.

Some months on, I am very glad to report that recruitment for the EB has gone excellently, and we have now assembled a diverse team of editors to work with our report authors in the creation of pro-science policy documents and briefings, with EB members having backgrounds from across the fields of science and science publishing. We have hit the ground running, and have begun by developing a robust set of document templates and author guidance, which we have already seen solidify our and homogenise the style of our publishing efforts. We have worked with other members of the SfL team to overhaul our publications landing pages and now have permanent digital object identifiers (DOIs) assigned to our existing publications, which will also be assigning to all future publications.

Beyond this (largely administrative) work, we have also improved and formalised our internal review process, adding another stage of internal scientific and grammatical editorial control, beyond the multi-stage internal review we have been operating thus far. While we have made every effort to ensure that all our outputs to date have undergone a rigourous internal review, this new layer of editorial control, conducted by the EB, will cement in our commitment to producing high-quality summative review and policy creation and opens our work up to new possibilities in conducting primary research. Where appropriate, the EB will also be tasked with coordinating external review, to further ensure rigour in our work.

The long-term goal of the EB is to mould SfL’s policy outputs into something that resembles a scientific publishing house, designed to provide our elected representatives and the public with easily digestible policy advice, based on the available scientific evidence. While we have made some strides towards this goal, significant work remains in further developing our efforts thus far. In the future, we hope to refine the processes we have developed and streamline our document creation process, as well as to use the EB’s skills as scientists to move into more policy areas and potentially towards more primary research. Over the coming months and years, our general intention is to transition our research into areas of science policy beyond COVID, focussing particularly on environmental policy, where we hope to provide evidence-based advice in how the Labour can develop and deliver on its commitment to a green new deal.

We hope you are looking forward to following our ongoing evolution in policy creation, and to our upcoming work in environmental policy – onwards and upwards!