I published my first peer-reviewed article back in 1998, but it took me a while to become a peer reviewer. I did my first review for American Journal of Botany in 2005, a year after completing my PhD at the University of Liverpool and after publishing a couple of articles from my doctoral research. I first joined an editorial board in 2006, when Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy (the journal where I published my first paper) created a new executive editor position. In 2009, I started mentoring young researchers through the AuthorAID program from INASP (UK). In 2011, the INASP and Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (BAS) organized training for Bangladeshi researchers on research communication — the first-ever event I designed and facilitated.
The contribution of volunteers (e.g. community members, cultural advisers, statisticians, research librarians and research assistants) is often essential for the success of a research output. They are not always acknowledged. But they should be. This Scholarly Kitchen piece offers some great suggestions for good practice in this area. This is a recommended read for researchers of all experience levels.
If we imagine a manuscript being drafted for a journal, we may see the first cluster of voluntary activities around it. In addition to taking help from friends or colleagues to analyze a dataset or draw a better diagram, early-career researchers often show their draft manuscripts to peers or senior colleagues at their institutions to see “if it is okay”. These not-co-authors offer their advice to young colleagues as a good will gesture or out of academic duty. Many research mentorship programs facilitate similar interactions, but in a bit more formal manner — AuthorAID brings together about 13,250 mentees and 850 mentors from all over the world, mostly from the Global South covering wide range of disciplines, while the Gobeshona Young Researcher Program focuses on the climate change research of Bangladesh, for example.