Apply to Write for Astrobites!

  • Deadline: Friday, November 15, 2019
  • Required information: (1) One sample Astrobite post, (2) why you want to write for Astrobites, and (3) a description of your research field. You can find the application form at the bottom of this page by about October 15th.
  • All graduate students in astronomy and astrophysics may apply. We aim to cover a wide variety of research topics from a diverse set of perspectives. Individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. If you are passionate about sharing the latest research in astronomy and astrophysics and enjoy writing, we want to hear from you!
  • Astrobites is a volunteer collaboration and does not offer compensation. The benefits of joining our team include public outreach (disseminating journal articles to a wider audience) and professional development (reading papers, writing, and editing).
  • Applications are reviewed anonymously. Please do not include your name, affiliation, or other identifying information in your short essays or sample astrobite.

Sample Post Guidelines
Your astrobite should summarize a published astronomy or astrophysics journal article that is at least three months old and has not been featured on astrobites. (Note: This is different from our usual posts, which cover very recent papers.)  Do not write about one of your own papers. Your post should discuss the motivation, methods, results, and conclusions of the paper. Title your sample astrobite as you would title a post on the site.

Write at a level appropriate for undergraduate physics or astronomy majors. Effective astrobites avoid jargon and thoroughly yet succinctly explain unfamiliar concepts. We encourage you to provide links to previous astrobites or other websites where appropriate. Your sample post should include at least one figure from the paper with an appropriate caption (not just the original caption). You may also include figures from outside the paper. Astrobites are usually between 500-800 words in length, and your post should definitely not exceed 1000 words. We suggest you read a few published astrobites by different authors to get a sense how posts are written.

Author Responsibilities
Authors write one astrobite each month and edit another author’s astrobite once per month.

Writing an astrobite typically takes about 6 hours on average for experienced authors, which includes selecting and carefully reading a paper. It takes somewhat longer for new authors. Editing another author’s astrobite usually takes less than 30 minutes. Some of us also spend time contributing to the glossary pages, arranging for guest posts, representing astrobites at conferences, and maintaining the website. These activities are optional, so new astrobiters can choose how much time they would like to devote to the collaboration. Authors typically write for two years, but this can be adjusted on an individual basis.

The Hiring Process
The hiring committee will primarily review applicants based on the quality of their sample astrobites, and also why they want to write for Astrobites. The names and affiliations of the applicants will be concealed from the hiring committee until after the final list of candidates is selected to promote equity. Successful candidates will be notified approximately one month after the application deadline.

If an applicant is not selected to write for astrobites, we may still ask if they would like to post their sample astrobite on the website as a guest post. If they are interested, they would have to work with an Astrobite author to edit their post, as is done for all of our bites.

FAQ: Who can apply?

  • I am a graduate student in physics / planetary science. Can I apply?
    Yes, we have had plenty of authors in both physics and planetary science. It is probably helpful if your research is related to astronomy or space in some way. In one case, we even had a graduate student in Creative Non-fiction as a regular author.
  • I am a Masters student / I just started graduate school. Can I apply to be a regular Astrobites author?
    Yes.
  • I am a post-doc. Can I apply to be a regular Astrobites author?
    No, but you can submit a guest post. Here are examples of guest posts by post-docs: (1) Galaxy Zoo, (2) Astronomy Sound of the Month.
  • I am an undergraduate. Can I apply to be a regular Astrobites author?
    No, but you can submit a write-up of your research. Here are some examples: (1) Solar Tornadoes, (2) NEOCam Detector Arrays, (3) Measuring the Solar Radius.
  • I want to write for Astrobites, but not in English. Is that possible?
    Yes, we have sister sites in Spanish (Astrobitos), Portuguese (Astropontos), and Persian (Staryab). You are welcome to apply to write for them, but note they have separate application processes with different deadlines. Contact them directly for more information.

FAQ: Application Details

  • Why do I have to pick a paper from more than three months ago? / Can I write about a more recent paper?
    We include this as a requirement to avoid the possibility of a current author writing a post about the same paper while you are preparing your application. If you are unsure about a specific paper, please send us an email.

FAQ: Application Tips

  • Who should be able to understand my sample Astrobite?
    Astrobite posts are directed at undergraduates in astronomy (and related fields), and are intended to help undergraduates learn how to read research papers.
  • Should I include links in my sample Astrobite like in a normal Astrobite?
    Yes. In most cases, the links should not be too technical in nature.
  • Do the figures in my application post have to be taken from the paper?
    Not necessarily. Often, other figures can help explain the topic of the paper (see this post, and this other post for examples). You can also annotate a figure from the paper (e.g. here) or take part of a figure (e.g. see here) if it’s not exactly what you want.
  • Can someone else look over my sample Astrobite?
    We recommend having an academic friend provide comments and suggestions before you submit your application.

Submission Instructions

  • Choose a published paper at least three months old that has not been featured on astrobites, and write a sample post
  • Save your astrobite as a PDF with the filename “[firstname]_[lastname]_astrobite.pdf” (do not include your name or affiliation in the PDF file)
  • Complete and submit the application below by the deadline
  • Questions? Contact us at hiring@astrobites.org.

The application form will be posted right here on this page on about October 15th. The three main prompts will be:

  • Please describe your research interests (100 words max)
  • Why would you like to write for astrobites? (200 words max)
  • Please upload your sample astrobite as a PDF.