Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Access to Understanding: Statistically Speaking

Access to Understanding is getting bigger and better every year. The 2015 science-writing competition attracted over 300 entries from all over the world. But don’t take my word for it, explore the map below to see where they came from and what they were about.



Globalised Science
With 227 submissions, the lion’s share of entries were from the UK. But that’s not the whole story. The competition has a far more international flavour this year with our first entrants from Africa (Ghana and South Africa), a growth in entrants from Eastern Europe and an impressive 24 entrants from India (nearly 8% of all our entries).



Women and Science Communication
With 69.2% of all biomedical postgraduate degrees awarded to women, it’s not surprising that 70% of our entrants were female. In light of the wider gender imbalance in terms of published papers, it’s great to see that Access to Understanding fairly reflects the female contribution to the biomedical sciences.



Student Habits Die Hard

As ever, our entrants left things to the last minute with 57% submitting their entries in the last 24 hours, and 21% in the last hour. Busy times at A2U HQ!


The majority of our entrants were at PhD level (nearly 5 times as many PhD students entered as postdoctoral researchers), and generally our entrants were more likely to be in the early stages of their position (compare 75 first-year with 6 sixth-year PhD students). As we know already, having an article published by eLife is a great start to your research career.

With all the hard work done for our entrants, it’s just a matter of waiting. The winner will be announced at the Oscars of science writing – the Access to Understanding award ceremony at the British Library on 27 March 2015. In the meantime, stay tuned here and to the British Library Science Blog for competition details, shortlisted entries and more…