Science Writers Database FAQ

The Open Notebook’s Science Writers Database is a free resource for the global science writing community. Below are answers to some questions that you might have. If you have a question that is not answered below, please send an email to The Open Notebook editor-in-chief Siri Carpenter at

The purpose of this database is to help people within our community expand and diversify their networks and find potential freelancers, collaborators, editors to pitch, conference panelists, award judges, new colleagues, voices to follow on social media, and more.

This is a database of journalists, writers, editors, and other communicators who cover science and related topics (health, environment, technology, etc.). Anyone who fits that description, anywhere in the world, is welcome to join.

No. The purpose of collecting this information is to populate the Science Writers Database at The Open Notebook. Please fill out the questionnaire with information you’re comfortable sharing publicly. The vast majority of questions are optional. Should you not wish to answer a question, simply skip it and proceed to the next.

Yes. If you’re a student and you are working toward a career covering science as a journalist, writer, editor, or communicator of any kind, you’re welcome to join. (There is no place for you to indicate that you are a student because you won’t be a student forever and we want your entry to remain as accurate as possible for a long time to come.)

Yes! This is intended to be a global database. The more the merrier.

We’re happy to help! Please send an email to The Open Notebook editor-in-chief Siri Carpenter at and let her know what changes you need.

We can take care of that. Please send an email to The Open Notebook editor-in-chief Siri Carpenter at and let her know that you’d like to be removed. Please send the email from the address in your database profile so that we know it’s really you. If you did not include an email address in your database profile, get in touch and we’ll sort it out.

Joining the Science Writers Database is voluntary. When a person fills out the application form to join, we manually verify their entry.

Because of spammers. Also, because sometimes people make mistakes, like forgetting to include any contact information, or saying that they’ve been a science journalist since 1885. We want this database to be as high-quality and free of errors (and spam) as possible. We’re happy to put some work into that so the database is more useful for everyone.

We aim to approve entries within two business days. If it has been more than two business days since you submitted your entry and you are not a robot, please email The Open Notebook editor-in-chief Siri Carpenter at to inquire.

It would be frustrating for users if they used the database to find professional contacts, only to discover that there was no way to contact those people. In addition, we need to be able to contact people who submit entries in cases where there is some problem or question with the entry. We offer many options for ways that people can contact you, including email, phone, WhatsApp, Signal, your website’s contact form, and direct messaging on social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

Please don’t. The intention of this database is to help people in our community find one another, at an individual level. Scraping this website for email addresses and then spamming dozens or hundreds of people in order to promote your product (whether it’s a free product or something you’re charging for) is bad form. It will make people not want to be part of this database and then you will have ruined it for everyone. So don’t.

We want to minimize the problem of people’s entries in the database growing out of date as soon as they change jobs. That’s why we ask people to provide links to one or more places online that they normally keep up to date.

We have tried to provide as broad a list of beats/specialties within science writing/editing/communication as possible, but we can’t list every possible option—there could be hundreds. The keyword field is a place for getting more specific.

By many estimates, more than 7,000 languages are spoken or signed in the world. Our selectable list includes more than 130 languages. We started from a list of most-used languages and then, consulting with colleagues in a number of regions of the world, augmented that list further. Our goal was to make the list as inclusive as possible without presenting users with an unmanageable list and while still making it possible for users to sort and filter results by language. If a language you speak is not on our list, please email The Open Notebook editor-in-chief Siri Carpenter at and ask her to add a language entry for you.

We hope that one way in which people will use this database is to diversify their networks. For example, many editors want to add more writers from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities to their freelancer rosters; we hope this database will help them find writers who are a good fit for their publications’ needs. As another example, many science writers and communicators would like to follow a more diverse group of colleagues on social media, and we hope this database will help folks do so. We have tried to ask questions about personal identity in a way that is as sensitive and inclusive as possible given the heterogeneity of our global community. All questions about personal identity (as well as most other questions on the database questionnaire) are optional.

The Open Notebook (TON) is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that is widely regarded as the leading online source of training and educational materials for journalists who cover science. We are dedicated to fostering a supportive, diverse, and inclusive global community that enables reporters and editors who cover science to learn and thrive. Through our comprehensive library of articles on the craft of science journalism and our extensive training and mentoring programs, we empower journalists at all experience levels, around the world, to tell impactful, engaging stories about science. You can learn more about our mission and programs here.

If you’d like to start digging into all that TON has to offer, a good place to start is our Where to Get Started at The Open Notebook page.

If you’d like to make a donation to help support our work, we’re grateful!

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