Photo by Dave Hoefler / Unsplash

Accelerating discovery in science

The Sciety Team builds technology to help find trustworthy scientific content by growing a network of researchers who evaluate, curate and consume content in the open. The team operates as part of eLife Sciences Publications Limited, a non-profit organisation inspired by research funders and led by scientists. Our mission is to help scientists accelerate discovery by operating a platform for research communication that encourages and recognises the most responsible behaviours in science.

Who are we?

A group of four software developers, a product manager and a data scientist, all working closely together with our UX and Communities teams, to help researchers navigate the preprint landscape. Our backgrounds are quite varied with former life scientists, technologists and community builders from various parts of the globe. We work remotely and created the team with a remote-first mindset - although we do like to meet in person when we can.

Why join us

eLife's mission to accelerate discovery in science and evolve publishing is evident in everything we do in the Sciety Team. If you want to be involved in helping scientists get their findings out to the world earlier and give a platform for people to evaluate and organise the very latest in research, then joining the team is the right thing to do. We're also a very friendly group and like to look after each other - we meet twice a day and always take time to listen.

A typical day working at Sciety

We all join a Google Meet call at 9am for our stand up meeting to organise the day and find out about everyone’s availability. It’s also a great time to check in with everyone, find out what has been happening from those who we’ve not seen as often (like our Head of Technology and Innovation), and decide what value we are going to deliver today. Most of the team then stay in the same video call in a software development ensemble with the product manager, data scientist and UX designer taking part too unless they’re not needed. Having everyone together makes feedback really fast but also creates a sociable atmosphere that means remote work feels less isolating.

There will be regular tea breaks as concentrating on the task in hand all day can be quite draining. We’ll meet at 1pm after lunch for a quick catch up on progress or twice a week meet for our ‘campfire’ session where we share team folklore and relax together to talk about the latest TV series, film, book, album, play or board game we’ve been indulging in outside of work.

At the end of the afternoon we meet again for our ‘daily retrospective’ where we all get a chance to say ‘what went well today’ and ‘what we’d like to try tomorrow to improve our process’. This regular concentration on improvement means we’re able to adapt how we work to continually get better but the best part is, we always end the day on a positive note.

Our culture

Everyone in the team has a chance to give input on the Sciety product and how we fit into the larger mission at eLife. The daily focus on continuous improvement and fast, iterative delivery mean that we can adapt to new information quickly and respond to the change we help create in the broader industry. This means planning uses lots of data and user feedback, and sometimes means we make decisions as late as possible. We do have a longer-term plan though and the team spend a significant amount of time ensuring everyone understands where Sciety is going, how we're helping researchers and where we can collaborate with others.

We’re also keen to encourage learning both as a group and as individuals. We encourage members of the team to reserve half a day per week for self-directed learning using a system called ‘gold cards’ and also spend time in ‘team learning’ that can involve anything from a discussion about team practices to a deep dive into some code or a tutorial on meditation and mindfulness.

Our hiring process

We want to make sure you have time to find out about us, and we want to find out about you too. We don't want to take up too much time of your time so our process is quite light.

  1. A telephone or video call interview for around 30 minutes with our Tech Lead Manager or Head of Technology and Innovation
  2. A session of roughly 2 hours, with breaks, that covers your craft (software development or product management) with 2 people in the first hour, then an informal chat with a slightly larger group (3 or 4 people) after that.
  3. Any follow up questions are then by email or quick telephone calls before an offer is made. As we're a small organisation we can usually turn around offers and contracts very quickly too.

Our offer

Other than the chance to work in a talented and enthusiastic team, on a product that helps researchers solve real world problems, we also offer these great employee benefits:

  • Competitive salary and benefits
  • 25 days’ holiday, plus bank holidays
  • An open, communicative and inspiring working experience
  • The option of working in an employee designed modern office near the centre of Cambridge
  • Covered cycle parking, shower facilities, informal working or relaxation areas, free fresh fruit, a fancy coffee machine and snacks in the kitchen
  • A sociable and friendly team with interesting social events
  • A flexible approach to working hours and remote working
  • Enhanced maternity, paternity and adoption pay
  • Company pension scheme
  • Death in Service benefit
  • Employee Assistance Programme

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