Monday, April 02, 2012

The publications of the American Academy of Microbiology


Published by AAM and ASM
Do you know your E. coli fact sheet well enough? If needed, you can set your record straight by having a look at one of the new publications of the American Academy of Microbiology: E. coli: Good, Bad & Deadly. This booklet is part of the FAQ series, a collection on important microbe-related topics written for a large public. 

To me, this series is a great resource to learn how to write for the layman: keep the writing engaging but do not cloud or sacrifice the facts. It contains such nice piece of writing as "E. coli is genetically promiscuous. It can exchange genes with other strains of E. coli and even other types of bacteria." The first sentence is funny and intriguing, whereas the second sentence explains briefly. The content of the whole booklet is substantial but not indigestible (about 6,000 words) and nicely illustrated.



All reports of the Academy are designed by the Pensaré Design Group, and these people do a terrific job! Good design is essential for such reports: if they look dull, whatever the quality of the content is, many potential readers will turn away from them.

The FAQ reports are based on the discussion of a group of Academy Fellows who meet for a day in order to answer the frequently asked questions on a specific topic. In addition to E. coli, the FAQ series so far provides information about oil spill cleaning by microbes and adult vaccines. More to come!
So what is the Academy? This is what we can read on their website:
"The American Academy of Microbiology (Academy) is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the world's oldest and largest life science organization. The mission of the Academy is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public.
[...]
Today, the Academy servers as a resource to governmental agencies, industry, ASM and the larger scientific and lay communities by convening colloquia to address critical issues in microbiology. The Academy convenes four to five colloquia a year for in-depth analysis of critical issues in microbiology."
Published by AAM and ASM
Summaries of the colloquia are also published as freely accessible reports. They cover a large diversity of topics, including microbial evolution, food safety, and professional development.

The Academy is also associated with mBio, the online-only and open-access journal of ASM, since Academy Fellows act as editors and reviewers for the journal. mBio is a great microbiology journal with a broad scope. The only difficulty is to pass by their logo, which to me evokes more a cheap biotech company than a scholarly journal… I don't even know what mBio stands for. Microbial biology? Anyway, they publish a lot of very interesting papers, and one of these days I will probably write a post about one of their publication.

I write a lot about ASM and ASM-related resources here, but I just think they are doing a very good job on- and offline to promote microbiology.
And I'm already looking forward to attending the ASM General Meeting in San Francisco in June!

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