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Janaynne Carvalho do Amaral

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign


Summarize yourself and professional experience in a few sentences (where you’re from, course of study, where you currently work, job title).

I grew up in Goiania, Goias, Brazil. It is in the Center-West Region and close to the capital of Brazil, Brasilia, Federal District. There I got my BA in Art Direction and my master’s degree in Social Anthropology. Then I moved to Rio de Janeiro to pursue my PhD in Information Sciences and my professional-oriented training in public engagement with science through the Non-degree Graduate Program in the Public Communication of Science, Technology and Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During my career, I have been studying and publishing in different types of publications, such as magazines, scholarly and scientific journals, and books.

Please describe the main function of your organization and your current responsibilities.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I conduct research on public participation and DEIA initiatives in the peer review process of journals and on public engagement with science. I teach future librarians, archivists, and museum professionals at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My teaching focus is on Scholarly Communication and Information Services for Diverse Users. The Information Services for Diverse Uses has refined my skills and community analysis assessment, and my students and I are constantly discussing how we can improve our cultural competence and cultural humility to design outreach initiatives that meet the needs and interests of underrepresented, underserved, and marginalized communities.

How did you get into scholarly communications, and what was your path to your current role?

My career in scientific publishing started in 2015 when I was awarded a scholarship to work as a Portuguese proofreader of scientific journals hosted by an academic library program in partnership with a university press. In 2016, I was promoted to Editorial Coordinator of this department of scientific journals, and I had the opportunity to work with authors and campus stakeholders in publishing and writing technical documentation such as peer review policies and guidelines to review, format, and proofread manuscripts accepted for publication. That was when I fell in love with scholarly communication, mainly with open peer-reviewed journals.

Please describe a key achievement in your scholarly communications career. How did you play a part in this?

A key achievement in my scholarly communications career was my postdoc at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I was paired up with two incredible postdoc mentors who are helping me to develop and mature my research, service, mentoring, and teaching skills in scholarly communication and science communication. In addition, when I was living in Brazil, I was given me opportunity to be part of the editorial board of Science Editor, a publication of the Council of Science Editors. Being part of the editorial board of Science Editor helped me to improve my spoken and written skills, besides understanding the differences and similarities between scholarly communication in the context of the United States and Brazil. In 2022, I participated in the fellowship program of SSP, and I had the chance to be mentored outside the academia in scholarly publishing and understand the role of scholarly communications stakeholders, besides interacting and building partnerships with them.

What are some of the surprises/obstacles that you’ve encountered during your career?

Since I come from a working family and am the first person in my family to get a Ph.D., I face prejudice inside academia. Once, English education in my country was not good, and I was told many times that I would never be part of scholarly societies abroad or go very far with my research career and professional career in scholarly communication.

As a non-native English speaker, writing fast and speaking in public has been a big deal for me. However, I have found many scholarly communication stakeholders, besides my professors, to support me with my writing and when I give talks. These supporters have made a huge impact on my life, and I am grateful to them.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?

To people interested in a career in scholarly communications, I would advise them

  1. Understand the cycle and role of scholarly communications stakeholders;
  2. understand what you want to do, why, and how you will make things happen;
  3. understanding that scholarly communications is global and local, and it is important to understand the needs of our communities to better serve and support them with their struggles;
  4. understand that nobody has the power to determine who you are and your place in the world. If you have a dream, make a plan and go ahead. Try and try…if things go wrong, learn from your mistakes and move on—I learned these lessons from my postdoc mentors – and I believe that this type of encouragement is fundamental to enhancing DEIA initiatives in scholarly communication.

Career Level: Early Career (0-5 years)

Industry area: Publishing