Everyone has a story – here's ours! — R Voice

Everyone has a story – here's ours!

Akrit Kashyap
Akrit Kashyap Member Posts: 10

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

Hi! Thanks for joining us. It’s exciting to see you on R Voice, the platform for everyone in academia. Now that you’re here, look around, get to know your fellow community members, and start having some amazing conversations with them. Although this community platform is new, R Voice actually has its own origin story - long in the making, and it's a story we’d love to share. 😊

2002: Editage

Editage was started in 2002 as a response to a need expressed by one Japanese researcher. He wanted a native speaker to edit his research manuscript before submitting to a journal, and it seemed many other people did too. As a result Editage was born as a division of Cactus Communications.

Editage had the aim of helping authors overcome the language barrier in journal publishing through services like academic editing and journal publication support. In the course of our interactions with authors, we learned a lot about the kind of challenges they face in their research publication journey.

It was clear that while researchers are experts in their respective fields, they lack an understanding of best practices in academic writing and journal publishing. 

We also realized that there is a gap between authors (what they understand) and journals (what they expect). One way to bridge this gap was educating researchers about best practices of writing and publishing and by getting journal editors to share their expectations from authors.

2012: Editage Insights

A survey of Editage customers and other authors revealed that there was an appetite for education and learning about publishing, and academia in general.

This led us to introduce Editage Insights as a common platform on which authors and journal editors could communicate with each other. Editage Insights is a multilingual platform that hosts free tips, advice, and resources on all aspects and stages of research (such as preparing for research, manuscript writing, journal selection and submission, peer review, research promotion, and career advancement). One of the highlights of Editage Insights platform is its highly popular Q&A Forum

Researchers soon started sharing their thoughts with us on topics beyond journal publishing. We saw that behind every researcher’s academic journey lies a unique story, and sharing this story will help researchers feel a sense of belonging, knowing that they are not alone and that there’s someone else out there who has a similar life story to share. To encourage researchers to share their experiences, we created a special segment on Editage Insights – Researchers and Their Stories. Today, this segment hosts more than 450 personal stories from researchers on topics such as mental health in academia, work-life balance, dealing with imposter syndrome, and a lot more.  

But, in the course of our conversations with researchers, we noticed that something big was missing. 

We saw an abundance of discussions about what researchers are supposed to do, how things in academia or scholarly publishing work, or how academics can succeed in securing research positions or getting published in top tier journals. But there were very few conversations about what researchers feel or experience, how the unique challenges they deal with affect them, or whether they get the support they need to get through their academic journey. 

This got us thinking, so we decided to dig deeper. 

2019: CACTUS Mental Health Survey

To learn more about this and to understand how researchers navigate their academic life, we launched a large-scale global survey on mental health in academia. The idea was simple – to know more about what researchers identify as the highs and lows of academic life, what they feel about the culture in academia, what are some of the changes they would like to see, and what kind of support they need in order to thrive and succeed as researchers. 

This survey, with 13,000 responses, went on to become the world’s largest survey dealing with mental health in academia. Detailed analyses of survey findings (check out the survey reports here, if you haven’t done so yet) revealed that, often, researchers feel overwhelmed while trying to survive in the demanding and challenging culture within academia – especially against a background of fixed-term positions, pressure to publish, get grant money, attract new students, and 101 other things. 

The survey showed that we need to openly talk about mental health in academia and about how we can build a more positive academic culture. It also indicated the need for researchers to be able to connect with others, share experiences, and seek and provide support. 

And this is how this community was born. 

2020: R Voice

We began small, on a platform dedicated to discussions around the Mental Health Survey, with a handful of researchers tentatively sharing views and experiences. Before long, we became a strong community where members felt safe enough to share some of their deepest thoughts and confident enough to support others at their lowest points. 

Soon, it was time to find a new home for the R Voice community, to make sure that every member, every researcher who joins this community, is able to not just share their stories but also talk to other researchers who share similar journeys or experiences. Much like your favorite local café moving to a bigger space to bring smiles to more coffee lovers. 

And so here we are today, on this new R Voice platform – with the same people, the same warmth, and same assurance…that you can be yourself here in YOUR own space. 

Together, we can make the culture in academia a more nurturing and supportive one.  

So this is the R Voice story – what’s yours?