A Blog Around The Clock

I Want This Job!

It has ‘Coturnix’ written all over it, don’t you think? I am even wearing my PLoS t-shirt right now as I am typing this!

But, why is it necessary to move to San Francisco? My wife is terrified of earthquakes and CA is one state she always said she would never move to.

Looking at the job description, everything can be easily done sitting in my pajamas here in Chapel Hill, or on a submarine, or on the Moon. It’s all online:

PLoS ONE Online Community Manager

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit advocacy and publishing organization located in the China Basin area of San Francisco, California. We publish a growing collection of Open Access scientific and medical journals whose complete contents are freely available online. Our long-term goals are to create an online “public library of science” containing every scientific and medical paper ever published, and to develop the information technologies needed to maximize the value of this resource. For more information about PLoS, visit http://www.plos.org/.

Job Description

PLoS ONE is a high volume, efficient and economical system for the publication of peer-reviewed research in all areas of science and medicine. But what makes PLoS ONE really different happens after publication – users are able to annotate, comment on, and rate articles. To facilitate and moderate this post-publication interaction, we’re looking for someone with a scientific background to help guide PLoS ONE through high growth, gather feedback from the online community and keep discussions on topic.

You will be responsible for managing the PLoS ONE user community, monitoring the discussion threads, expanding membership and organically growing the site based on community feedback. PLoS ONE will be adding new technology to foster relationship-building throughout the year and you will help shape this technology. You will also work with focus groups and external communities to gather feedback and promote PLoS ONE.

This should not be your first role with an online community. We would like a couple of years experience working directly within an online community, preferably with an online scientific community.

This is a full-time, permanent position available immediately at our San Francisco office, and we are looking to fill it as soon as possible. Our salaries are competitive for nonprofit organizations, but less than comparable salaries in the corporate environments. Compensation is dependent on qualifications. PLoS offers a benefits package which includes vacation, 401(k), health, vision and dental coverage.

The responsibilities of the Online Community Manager include, but are not limited, to the following:

* Field questions from the online community.
* Work to grow the number of participants and activity on the site.
* Moderate the discussions threads and forums (which will be scientific in nature).
* Help keep the online community free of spam and on topic.
* Create and implement specific policies to guide positive growth in the online community.
* Identify problems and create solutions to social and technical problems in the forums.
* Translate online community requirements into business opportunities.
* Work with marketing team to develop e-marketing campaigns specific to the online community.
* Communicate technical issues to the web team and advise the online community on issues.
* Use an in-house Content Management System to update the website.
* Perform statistical analysis using web logs.
* Upload files to Unix servers using standard and secure FTP programs.
* Carry out other technical and site administration duties as required.

Knowledge Skills and Abilities

* 2-5 years of “hands on” professional experience with moderation and management of online communities, specifically online scientific communities. Compulsive participation a plus.
* Strong understanding of online communities, blogging and current online culture.
* A broad understanding of and enthusiasm for science.
* Strong verbal and written communication skills for monitoring online communication.
* Must work well with others; be willing and able to support end users in a constructive manner.
* Understanding, experience and comfort with Open Source technology.
* Proven ability to effectively analyze and communicate complicated technical and social issues to a management team.
* Good judgment and the ability to handle multiple conflicting goals without active supervision.
* Sense of humor and the ability to handle screaming masses of highly opinionated scientists without going insane.
* A passion for and an understanding of how to leverage Web 2.0 tools for social change.
* Must be passionate about working with the scientific community.
* Excellent analytical and problem solving skills.


* BA Degree or equivalent experience.

Application Procedure

If interested please send resume and cover letter to jobs@plos.org and use the job title as the subject of your email. No phone calls or visits, please. Principals only – email from recruiters will be ignored.

If there is any aspect of this job that you think I am unsuited for, let me know. If there is another person who you think would be a great candidate for this, let that person know.

Update: Actually, a total move to SF is not out of question (now that we discussed this at home). Still, SF is the most expensive city to live in (so people are leaving for the sub/ex-urbs and adding to the rush-hour traffic even more). I was thinking I could start out in SF for a month or two, then work from here and just go to SF when needed.


  1. #1 The Ridger
    April 21, 2007

    Heck – apply for it and ask about telecommuting.

  2. #2 Jeb, FCD
    April 21, 2007

    Go for it!

  3. #3 apalazzo
    April 21, 2007

    Go for it!

  4. #4 apalazzo
    April 21, 2007

    (Just as I hit enter I read Jeb’s comment … jinx)

  5. #5 Coturnix
    April 21, 2007

    Actually, a total move to SF is not out of question (now that we discussed this at home). Still, SF is the most expensive city to live in (so people are leaving for the sub/ex-urbs and adding to the rush-hour traffic even more).

    I was thinking I could start out in SF for a month or two, then work from here and just go to SF when needed.

  6. #6 Mike Dunford
    April 21, 2007

    The only way that job description could better fit you is if it had been specifically tailored to you.

  7. #7 Chris Surridge
    April 21, 2007

    So should we take this blog post as a formal application?

    Chris Surridge, Managing Editor, PLoS ONE

  8. #8 coturnix
    April 21, 2007

    Yes, why not. Check your e-mailbox.

  9. #9 Karen Ventii
    April 21, 2007

    This job sounds perfect for you. I want to say “good luck” but I’m sure you won’t need it. Cheers.

  10. #10 John Dupuis
    April 21, 2007

    I can’t imagine a person on the planet more suited for the job. You could probably get 10,000 letters of recommendation!

    (Would this mean the Science Blogger conf would alternate between NC & SF? Cool.)

  11. #11 Bill
    April 21, 2007

    You should have this job! (I see no reason not to telecommute as the manager of an ONLINE community, either.)

    Seriously, PLoS — you’d be NUTS not to hire Bora.

  12. #12 Zuska
    April 21, 2007

    Sense of humor and the ability to handle screaming masses of highly opinionated scientists without going insane.

    I can’t think of anyone else who would better meet this particular job requirement than you, Bora! Seriously, this job has your name written all over it. Hire him, PLoS! You’ll be glad you did!

  13. #13 Coturnix
    April 21, 2007

    My brother zoomed in to this instead:

    Compulsive participation a plus.

  14. #14 Mike Dunford
    April 22, 2007

    That’s more or less where I stopped reading, and figured that it was the job for you. But the sense of humor thing definitely fits, and you can probably handle scientists OK. (screaming masses of highly opinionated scientists is a very redundant phrase).

    Seriously, if PLoS folks are still reading, feel free to treat this as a formal recommendation.

  15. #15 Liz
    April 22, 2007

    There are more affordable suburbs that are in easy, public transport distance of SF.

    Public transport:

    BART (to San Mateo County and East Bay)
    CalTrain (San Mateo County and Santa Clara County)
    AC Transit

    And let me speak with the spousal unit about the earthquake fears. I’m over 50, I was born in San Jose, CA, and have (decrement random postings elsewhere) have always lived on the San Andreas Fault. Be prepared. No worries.

  16. #16 Alvaro
    April 23, 2007

    Well, would be fun to have you around here 🙂 and it does sound like a job you’d enjoy very much.

  17. #17 katherine sharpe
    April 23, 2007

    Haha, sounds like my job. I bet you would be good at it, though, and enjoy it a lot. I would even venture to say you are a ringer. Go for it!

  18. #18 MissPrism
    April 23, 2007

    Sounds perfect for you – good luck!
    You showed with the Open Laboratory book that you have the ability not just to manage online communities, but actually motivate them to do new and interesting things. That’s something special.

  19. #19 John McKay
    April 23, 2007

    It sounds like it was custom written with you in mind. No one knows the science blogging community better than you. You’ve put more thought into the meta of blogging and into its potential for science communication that anyone. “The Open Laboratory” alone should put you head and shoulders above any other candidate.

    As to earthquakes, I’ve lived in earthquake country for 38 years now and my opinion is that movies greatly exaggerate their scariness. Most earthquakes feel like a large truck driving by. You feel a rumble in the floor, the dishes rattle, and everyone stops and says “do you think that’s an earthquake?” By the time we realize that the answer is yes, it’s over. The bigger ones last a little longer and set off car alarms.

    Hurricanes go on for hours; that’s scary!

  20. #20 Kate
    April 24, 2007

    My one-sentence recommendation: I heart Bora.

    My longer recommendation: Read Bora’s framing post.

    My longest recommendation: Bora’s blog posts read like I imagine he talks. They make me want to meet him in person so we can go out for coffee and talk science. If I had a scientific community that needed moderating, or if I were submitting a manuscript for publication to PLoS (which could very well happen in the near future), Bora is the one I would want reigning in the “screaming masses of insane scientists” that would be responding to my article.

  21. #21 BrianR
    April 25, 2007

    The bay area is a WONDERFUL place. So many creative people with big hearts doing cool things. Bora, you would be *so* at home there I know it.

    We here in Chapel Hill would be sad to see you go but understand why you HAVE to take this great opportunity if it works out. Much luck!

  22. #22 Jean-Claude Bradley
    April 25, 2007

    The Jan07 Science Blogging conference that you made happen speaks for itself. That’s dedication!

  23. #23 revere
    April 25, 2007

    Yes, it has Coturnix written all over it. As a co Editor in Chief of an Open Access journal I will vouch for your blog and scientific creds. Blog Around the Clock seems more a description of your circadian rhythm than a catchy name. I hope PLoS One recognizes what it needs.

    Everyone else here is saying, Go for it, Bora. I say, Go for it, PLoS One.

  24. #24 Deepak
    May 9, 2007


    As our recent email exchanges have demonstrated, we need more science bloggers on the west coast. Come on over

  25. #25 coturnix
    May 17, 2007

    Some updates: here, here, here and here.

  26. #26 fran
    June 24, 2007

    I was going to go for that job, but unfortunately I’ve a lot of things going against me:
    I’m located over in Ireland and have no clue about living in San Fransisco.
    I have a masters in bioinformatics, but have 5 years of dealing with online communities (currently administering several over in Ireland).

    I was just looking around regarding the job, as I had assumed someone would have been posted by now and I was curious as to what it would look like.

    Also, you seem much more qualified considering your extensive science blogging history.

    Good luck on the application!
    Expect my jealousy to rage over the internet until the end of time! 😀

  27. #27 Reneka
    October 3, 2007

    I really like that you are helping People apply for a job and showing them what you expect and what they need

  28. #28 racquel
    October 3, 2007

    i like the fact that you let people get a job. its a good thing you had this website

  29. #29 hujianwu
    July 2, 2009

    the job is quite attractive to me, i like it. but i don’t know whether your company can accept a person who is not located in USA. I am staying in china now. and i have stayed in Ghana for many years. pls give me a reply. thank u

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