Why iAG-POSMO?

Intra‐African/German Postdoc Mentoring Online (iAG-POSMO) is an extended instrument of the Centre for Academic Writing Excellence—an alumni network which has been working to mediate texts of junior scientists from 5 African countries with additional expert advice from Chemnitz University of Technology since 2015. iAG-POSMO is a response to feedback from the group on the need to make it services easily accessible to many of its members in the virtual space.
Writing for publication is highly competitive and many junior scientists working in institutions with limited research infrastructure face a herculean task competing in the grant application process and having their papers accepted by serious peer-reviewed journals. Feedback on unsuccessful applications for grants in the humanities often highlights matters of substance, feasibility of proposed project and restricted publication context of applicants. The phenomenon of paid-publications in open-access journals has tended to send across the message that academic publication is easy. For one thing, most of these journals have weakened the traditional peer-review process for economic reasons. This has made it hard for junior scientists, who initially published in this online environment, to survive the stringent scrutiny of high quality journals and feedback on project proposals. Yet, grants and quality publications are key to building a solid research career: “the meek shall not inherit the grants” (Myers 1990:49)

Objectives

This Intra‐African/German Postdoc Mentoring Online (iAG-POSMO) is a platform for academic mentoring of junior scientists from countries across Africa, in the form of project advising and knowledge transfer. Since successful academic texts such as grant proposals and research articles often require feedback from peers and editors, iAG-POSMO provides academic/virtual space for such mediation practice for the benefit of junior scientists. iAG-POSMO has expert mentor(s). The collaboration of these mentors and junior scientists in the platform covers the following scope:


  • expert mentor(s) go through manuscripts of junior scientists to give them direction and focus, in line with specific needs of the target journals (if research articles) and the Humboldt Foundation (if projects);
  • there is knowledge transfer from expert mentor(s) through taking the junior scientists through the steps they took to accomplish similar professional/academic goals;
  • expert mentor(s) explore the possibilities of joint publications and workshops and regular presentation of papers and discussions in a designated centre/location, and
  • they will be information sharing on publication outlets, conferences/seminars and other news of academic and professional value.

How iAG-POSMO works

By bringing together junior scientists and expert mentor(s) on a virtual online mentoring platform, iAG-POSMO provides an excellent example of a digital humanities project in the sense that the digital is integrated in the professional practice of text mediation. Members can upload their texts and received feedback from experts Each member has two portals: one to upload his/her profile CV, and the other to upload a text (research paper, project etc.). Texts can be private or public. Texts uploaded onto the public domain can be viewed by everyone who access the platform (member or visitor). Those uploaded to the private domain can only be viewed by members. All texts requiring feedback from expert(s) mentor are in the private domain. And feedback on those can also be accessed by members for mutual benefit. However, only expert mentor(s) can make observations on the text of a junior scientist. Each member can edit and update their profile. The author of a text receives an instant email notification each time a review on his/her text is done.