Frequently Asked Questions

Science Journal for Kids is a small non-profit organization which “translates” academic papers into easy-to-understand science articles for school students. 

Why? Because children have the right to know about the latest scientific discoveries.

Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions:

How do we choose which papers to adapt?
We look for peer-reviewed environmental or biomedical science research published in the past year in a high-impact academic journal. We try to cover all the topics in AP Environmental ScienceIB Biology, and other high school life sciences curricula.

How many readers do we have?
Our website has over 500,000 pageviews per year. Check our Impact page for the most up-to-date readers’ stats. 

What age group are our readers?
Our adaptations range in reading level from 2nd to 12th grade. After completion, each adaptation is classified by category: elementary school, middle school, lower high school or upper high school. We normally aim for a middle-school reading level. Some topics are very susceptible to adaptation for an even lower reading level. Others inevitably end up being for high-school students only. 

Who are our readers?
Most of the site visitors are adults, not kids. Many of them are teachers – science or ESL/EFL – who print the adaptations for their students. Some site visitors are students, parents or other science enthusiasts. 

How do our readers find our site?
About a fifth are return visitors, i.e. they’ve used our science teaching resources in the past and follow the site for updates. Most others find us by googling “science lesson plan,” “science article,” or a specific topic, e.g. “climate change lesson” or “invasive species article for students.”

Who else has had their research adapted for Science Journal for Kids?
See past collaborations and read other researchers’ feedback on our Testimonials page

Who is on our board of academic advisors?
Our board of academic advisors includes researchers from University of California Berkeley and University of Texas in Austin. See the list on our Team page

How much time would the adaptation require from a researcher?
The adaptation process requires minimal time commitment from the researcher(s). Our science writer comes up with a first full draft of the adapted text with suggestions for illustrations. Then the researcher offers edits/suggestions and works with one of our editors to arrive at an agreed version. Finally, our designer lays it out for publication.

What might an academic paper’s adaptation look like? 
Check our article specifications. 

What if the researcher doesn’t like the first draft we send?
Then we will rewrite it as many times as necessary until it’s good enough for in-line edits. 

How many rounds of editing will the draft undergo?
As many as needed until all co-authors are satisfied with the final text and layout.

What about the adapted paper’s authorship?
The researchers who wrote the original academic paper retain authorship of the adapted version. Our science writer and editor are listed as “associate editors.” If some of the co-authors on the original paper do not want to be listed on the adaptation, we can exclude their names. 

What about the original paper’s copyright?
If the paper appeared in an open-access academic journal (e.g. Nature Communications, PLOS), it is published under Creative Commons copyright, which means anyone can use it in any way they choose. (This is the same content license we apply.)
If it was published in a subscription-based journal (e.g. Nature, PNAS), a kid’s adaptation of the research is legally considered “fair use” of the journal’s copyright (provided proper attribution) because it’s used for non-commercial educational purposes.
In either case, we include a full citation and a link to the original paper in the adaptation’s references.

What will be the copyright of the adapted paper?
Science Journal for Kids applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to all works we publish, as stated in our Content License Agreement

How long does the whole process take?
From agreement to publication, the process averages 2 to 4 months, depending on how quickly researchers return edits and comments. 

What can a researcher do with the adapted paper?
Anything she wants!

  • Upload it on her lab’s website.
  • Include it in her list of publications & outreach activities.
  • Send it to her research institution’s public outreach department.
  • Share it with funders in her next grant proposal.
  • Use our download stats to quantify her reserach broader impact for an NSF grant.
  • Link to it on social media.
  • Print it as a handout for a science fair.
  • Share it with educators she knows.
  • Read it with her own kids and family.

How much will the paper adaptation cost?
Our production fee is USD 1,400, due after publication. We offer discounts and waivers for specific papers. 

Where can a researcher get this money from?
No researchers pay out of pocket. Some possible sources are:

Do we offer translations in other languages?
Yes! We have translated some of our papers into Spanish, French, German, Greek and a dozen other languages. Many researchers like to have these non-English versions to reach local audiences. We offer translation into any written language for a small additional fee. If the researcher provides the translated text, the fee for the additional materials is even smaller. 

Do we offer any other science outreach content?
Yes! For an additional fee, we can produce a video trailer for the adapted paper. Check out an example for the paper How much does it cost when cows burp? Essentially, it’s a custom-animated video of about 60 seconds, produced in the same visual style as the paper’s adaptation. Teachers can show this video before assigning the adapted paper for students to read. It piques their curiosity about it and gets them asking the right questions. 

How do we measure our impact?
We use Google Analytics to track downloads for each adapted paper as well as all traffic to the website. We are able to offer quantitative stats on how each paper is doing after it’s published. This is useful for measuring its outreach and broader impact.
We also solicit qualitative feedback from teachers who have downloaded and used the adaptations in class. 

What about a formal Impact Assessment Study?
In 2017, in collaboration with a UC Berkeley researcher, we conducted a quantitative controlled impact assessment study on 130 high school students in the U.S. The students who were taught the scientific methods using our resources showed 40% improvement on a standardized test measuring scientific reasoning, as compared with a control group taught the same content using other science outreach resources. Read all about the study on our Impact page.

How long have we been around?
Since the spring of 2015. Check out our Annual Impact reports on our Impact page

Where’s the catch?
There is no catch. Science Journal for Kids was founded by a AP Environmental Science teacher with a M.S. from UC Berkeley who was frustrated her students didn’t have access to the latest scientific research. Watch this crowdfunding video we recorded when we were just getting started or hear the full backstory in our founder’s TEDx Talk.