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How a learning community can empower science educators and disrupt toxic academic norms

The Cuvette is a professional learning community that aims to empower educators by disrupting exclusive, elusive, and exploitative academic norms with practices that promote inclusiveness, transparency, and community. We invite you to learn about our philosophy and practices.

Published onJan 23, 2023
How a learning community can empower science educators and disrupt toxic academic norms

Working as a practitioner, researcher, and administrator has informed a unique perspective as to the norms in academia that work against communities of scholarship, particularly in science education. This learning community was designed to disrupt those norms, creating new practices capable of advancing science education.

A cuvette is a transparent vessel through which scientists shine light to determine the composition of a sample from the resulting electromagnetic spectra. Metaphorically, I hope The Cuvette will serve as a vessel for knowledge about innovations in science education through which diverse perspectives can illuminate the composition of our practices, empowering one another to reform the systems to which we contribute and are thereby responsible.

~ Vanessa Rosa, Director of Science Education Research at The Cuvette

This image shows the logo for the open-access science education research journal, The Cuvette, alongside its mission, which reads, "Empowering Leaders in Science Education by Disrupting Toxic Academic Norms."

The Cuvette logo and mission.

Welcome to the first editorial published by The Cuvette, a professional learning community dedicated to advancing science education.

Starting the 1st of February, 2023, The Cuvette will begin accepting contributions to be published in annual volumes of seasonal issues.

This editorial is comprised of three primary topics. First, the framework used to identify “toxic academic norms.” Then, the scholarship is used to develop principles & practices capable of disrupting those norms, creating novel opportunities to empower science educators. Finally, we conclude the editorial with an invitation for leaders in science education to contribute to the community.


Centered on a paradigm used to deconstruct norms surrounding knowledge production,[1][2] we applied Young’s theory of structural injustice to systems of academic knowledge dissemination.[3] Young’s theory of structural injustice describes how a society (e.g., academia) can integrate structures (i.e., practices, policies, or procedures) that sequester power (e.g., knowledge).[4][5] Young posits these structures can become accepted as “norms,” perpetuated by the (sometimes unknowing) participation of those seeking individual advancement.[3]

We characterize toxic academic norms as structures that 1) limit access to knowledge and 2) are generally accepted as standard practice. Outlining how these structures come to be, we identified three characteristics:

This figure depicts how access to resources (knowledge, in this context) becomes increasingly difficult upon the introduction of norms and structures promoting exclusivity (adds a barrier), elusiveness (makes the barrier hard to see), and exploitation (requires people to use one another to extract the resource). In the opposite direction, the figure demonstrates how introducing principles and practices that center community, transparency, and inclusivity can subvert these pressures, liberating the people via the liberation of the resource.
Figure 1
  1. Exclusivity - barriers that permit only a subset of the population access to knowledge,

  2. Elusiveness - a lack of clarity about the barrier, why it exists, how it functions, or who benefits, and

  3. Exploitation - structures requiring competition to gain access to barred knowledge.

Illustrated in Figure 1, we reason toxic norms could be disrupted by principles & practices reflecting the opposite of these qualities (i.e., inclusivity, transparency, and community).

Principles & Practices

The mission of The Cuvette is to connect and empower leaders in science education by disrupting toxic (exclusive, elusive, and exploitative) academic norms through practices that promote inclusiveness, transparency, and community.

We organized these practices into five categories representing the principles used to develop this journal. These principles assert that innovations in science education should be:

  • Ethically sourced - collected & distributed without exploiting leaders in science education & their intellectual property, institutions, or discipline.

  • Openly available - obtainable without barriers, accessibly written, & available in multiple languages.

  • Practitioner-inclusive - ensuring practitioners1 are supported in writing, reviewing, & implementing advancements.

  • Diversely published - broadening impact by promoting variety in the publication media, types, & routes.

  • Technologically relevant - implementing modern tools & resources to improve writing, dissemination, and readability.

Table 1 summarizes three examples of practices for each of the five principles discussed in greater detail in subsequent sections of this editorial.

Table 1



Ethically sourced

  1. Profits are reinvested in science education.

  1. Authors’ copyrights are preserved.

  1. Article-level measures of research impact are promoted.

Openly available

  1. Contributions are published diamond open-access.

  1. Authors are offered guidelines for accessible writing.

  1. Contributions can be submitted & accessed in multiple languages.

Practitioner- inclusive

  1. Guidelines for practice-focused writing & formatting are provided.

  1. Practitioners are supported as co-creators & evaluators of practice-focused education research.

  1. Educationally-relevant measures of research impact are in development.

Diversely published

  1. Disciplinary & interdisciplinary communications are facilitated.

  1. Multiple routes to publication are available.

  1. A variety of contribution types are accepted.

Technologically relevant

  1. Digital- or web-first design is used for readability.

  1. Access to modern writing formats & applications designed for academic writing is provided.

  1. Broader audiences can be engaged with discussions across platforms.

This editorial describes 15 practices to empower science educators and disrupt toxic academic norms, highlighting calls for reform across the academic community and crediting the scholars whose work informed the development of this journal. For specifics on implementing these (and other) practices at The Cuvette, click here to access our website.

Ethically Sourced

Did you know taxpayers, including researchers, can pay for the knowledge produced in academia on five separate occasions?

In a news article written for STAT,[6] Trang identifies publicly-funded grants, library subscriptions, per-article download fees, publishing or article processing costs, and salaries for scholars providing peer review as a service to their disciplines as five ways taxpayers pay for research.

Financial barriers introduce exclusivity in those who may access or contribute to research, rely on elusiveness surrounding costs and benefits to authors, exploit public and institutional resources, and leverage a journal’s notoriety to appropriate intellectual property for monetary gain.[7][8][9][10] We seek to subvert these structures by reinvesting in science education, maintaining copyrights, and providing article-level measures of impact.

Profits are reinvested in science education.

Over half of the world’s scholarly content is behind the paywalls of the top five publishers (RELX,2 Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis/Informa, Wiley-Blackwell, and Wolters Kluwer) [11][12], a norm that directly contradicts the purpose of research: to advance knowledge.[13]

Identified as an oligopoly or a market dominated by few producers,[7][14][15] for-profit, gated-access academic publishing relies on ever-increasing demands for unpaid labor (i.e., peer-reviewing, graphic design, and time-intensive formatting requirements).[7][13] This presents barriers to innovators who cannot afford to engage in free labor or cross financial gates [16] and imposes a substantive financial drain on academic institutions [7][13] despite unprecedented access to affordable knowledge dissemination via the Internet.[17][18]

We agree with MacLeavy and colleagues [13], who express a need to return to a model of academic publishing wherein “research papers are not treated as profit-making commodities” (p. 1). As such, we implemented a business model they and Lahelma et al.[19] describe as a not-for-profit, wherein the objective is not to earn a profit for the organization’s owners but to fulfill the organization’s goals by providing services3 to the community and reinvesting any profits into science education.4 A financial report is included at the end of each quarterly issue for transparency and accountability.

Authors’ copyrights are preserved.

… the pressures of supply and demand meant that publishers could continue profit-making at the expense of academics who ‘freely’ donated their IPR [intellectual property] and time, and were even convinced to sign over the copyright of their papers to the journal publishers, while their institutions paid the inflated subscriptions.

~ MacLeavy et al. [13] p. 2

Many for-profit, gated-access academic publishers require authors to forfeit rights over their intellectual property.[7][13][15] Bacevic and Muellerleile (p. 6) described this norm as morally corrupt, outlining how publishers “commoditize academic knowledge without paying for the labor necessary to produce it, then claim these commodities as intellectual property to sell to individuals” or back to their institutions, at unreasonable prices.[20]

Consistent with Plan S by cOAlition S,[21] an initiative for open-access publishing supported by an international consortium of research organizations, and the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy for Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research,[22] all contributions to The Cuvette are copyrighted for community reuse with attribution and are permanently archived in a public access repository.

The license offers a couple of benefits. First, authors’ copyrights on their intellectual property are preserved via a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.[23] This allows authors to use their contributions to The Cuvette in conference presentations, theses, dissertations, institutional repositories, future publications, communications via social media, literature reviews, etc. Second, the public is granted the right to replicate, transform, and distribute the contribution with attribution to the authors.

This promotes dissemination, allowing the public to copy, redistribute, remix, transform, or innovate the work, attributing to the original author and indicating any changes made. Rights are extended to datasets submitted according to our research data policy (linked here), which promotes open-access data,5 supporting efforts toward reproducible research, and the availability of research data.[24][25]

Preserving authors’ copyright subverts one method publishers use to control knowledge production: gating access to appropriated intellectual property. This promotes what the U.S. Office of Science & Technology describes in a memorandum (p. 2) as a “scientific culture that values collaboration and data sharing.”[22]

Article-level measures of research impact are promoted.

In addition to appropriating rights to authors’ intellectual property, publishers can impose control over knowledge production by reducing the impact of a scholar’s research to where it is published instead of what it contributes to society.[7][26][27] With reviews that remain confidential between the editors, reviewers, and authors, journal-level measures of impact (i.e., Journal Impact Factors) are one of the only means for the public to discern impact quickly.[28]

This norm has several consequences. First, journal-level impact measures can be artificially inflated by pre-publication curation (i.e., curate first, publish second) and high rejection rates [29], wherein, despite substantial growth, fewer papers are published today than thirty years ago.[30] Second, disciplines with readerships whose research use may not be reflected in article citations (i.e., education) are discriminated against.[17] Finally, the emphasis on “getting into the right journals” may be delaying dissemination, creating opportunity costs, and undesirably shaping the behavior of scholars seeking career advancement.[17][28]

We provide article-level metrics, including references in other scholarly works, news articles, or policy documentation, and engagement (e.g., views, likes, shares, comments, and reactions) across websites, including social media. These measures can be provided as evidence of the impact of a scholar’s contribution independent of the journal in which the work is published. We have also developed educationally-relevant measures of impact discussed in “Practitioner-Inclusive.”

In summary

Innovations in science education should be ethically sourced, collected, and distributed in a manner that reinvests in science education, protects authors’ rights to their intellectual property, and amplifies the impact of their contributions. The Cuvette upholds this principle by practicing inclusivity in authorship via no-cost access to publishing services, transparency in reporting costs and revenue redistribution, and community-centered feedback and rights to redistribute. In addition, this scholarly community seeks accountability and review from various initiatives for ethical research, including the Committee on Publication Ethics, the Declaration on Research Assessment, ThinkCheckSubmit, and CRediT.

Openly Available

Innovations in science education should be openly available, meaning available without barriers and accessibly written in multiple languages. Academic paywalls, gated access, inaccessible writing conventions, and English-language dominance introduce exclusivity behind the elusive “academic rigor” norm, perpetuating our exploitation in the name of career and disciplinary advancement and preventing some scholars’ access to knowledge.[9][10] Open-access publishing, accessible writing, and multilingual access have the potential to subvert these norms.[31]

Contributions are published diamond open-access.

Diamond open-access describes a set of practices wherein contributions are 1) made available for access and reuse online without barriers (e.g., logins, memberships, subscriptions, paywalls) and 2) published at no cost to the authors. The Cuvette is a diamond open-access journal. Scholars may consider the various implementations of open-access publishing or how the choice to publish open-access affects the impact of their research.

As for implementation, some publishers charge authors article processing costs (referred to as a “gold” open-access model).[32] Other models allow authors to publish for free in a “platinum” model due to donations, sponsorships, or advertisements.[33] To our knowledge, no label is assigned to models wherein authors are paid for their contributions to an academic journal. Perhaps this is a consequence of toxic altruism, wherein academics internalize expectations to engage in free labor or reject the notion that they should profit from their efforts.[20]

As for impact, there is some evidence to suggest open-access contributions are viewed and downloaded more often than gated contributions,[34][35] possibly by a more diverse readership,[36] resulting in increased citation rates [37][38] and alt-metrics.[39] However, few analyses have been conducted in education research. A paywall crash for the first two months of 2017 across six leading American Educational Research Association journals increased article downloads by 55-95%.[40]

This is a fairly large effect on downloads and suggests that thousands of potential readers interested in education research are stymied each month by paywalls.

~ Gershenson et al. [40] p. 260

Overall, data suggests the impact of choosing open-access publishers could be more ethical and positively impact scholars’ perceived impact.

Some open-access publishers have been observed accepting low-quality contributions or charging high article processing costs to their authors.[41] The Cuvette is structured as a not-for-profit, diamond open-access journal, implementing a quality control policy for contributions and reinvesting all proceeds into advancing science education. Ensuring innovations in science education are openly available is only one step toward bridging the researcher-practitioner-administrator gap.

Authors are offered guidelines for accessible writing.

Some scholars have identified accessible writing as the product of several practices, including short sentences, simpler vocabulary, more descriptive headings, visuals to translate text, and clearer, larger fonts.[42][43] However, Garbutt acknowledges such writing is subversive to structural forms of discrimination that have been accepted as academic traditions,[42] quoting Barners & Mercer as follows.

The ‘quality’ of publications is judged by the level of ‘scholarship’ they exhibit ... Thus, the more sophisticated and, in most cases, the more inaccessible an academic’s work is the more highly rated it is by the academic community.

~ Barnes & Mercer [44] p. 241

In a study of Norwegian doctoral candidates’ identity as researchers, writing “academically” was often equated to composing uninteresting, inaccessible, rigid collections of predominately English words according to a set of unwritten rules.[45]

The Cuvette has integrated mechanisms to regularly collect feedback and fund investigations toward developing the templates, guidelines, and policies used to support authors in integrating best practices for accessible writing. The current template for The Cuvette is referenced here.[46]

Contributions can be submitted & accessed in multiple languages.

Linguistic injustice reflects a norm in English dominance identified as demoralizing and marginalizing to multilingual academic writers.[47] Additionally, norms of inaccessible writing and linguistic injustice present substantial obstacles in any discipline wherein research is intended to be implemented into practice.[43]

Thus, contributions to The Cuvette can be written in any language. Additionally, all contributions will be published with a language menu wherein readers accessing the work online can translate the text into over 180 languages, according to the ISO 639 international standard.[48] To facilitate this practice, reviewers are provided guidelines to focus on research methodologies and data representations, leaving proofreading to other professionals.

In summary

Innovations in science education should be openly available or easily accessed without readers’ expense or authors’ exploitation, accessibly written, and welcoming of linguistic diversity. The Cuvette upholds this principle by practicing inclusivity, ensuring readers can readily access contributions online in many languages. Authors can publish with low and capped (potentially waived) article processing fees with guidelines for accessible writing. This scholarly community seeks accountability and review from initiatives for openly available research, including the Directory of Open Access Journals, the Knowledge Futures Group, and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.


Innovations in science education should be practitioner-inclusive, ensuring practitioners are supported in writing, reviewing, and implementing advancements. In addition to being inaccessibly written [42][43] and paywalled,[9][10] the impact of innovations in science education is limited by practitioners’ exclusion from development and review [43] and the misalignment in academic norms for measuring research impact.[49][50] These norms perpetuate a fruitless disconnect between researchers, practitioners, and administrators that serves none of the stakeholders involved.

Arguably the principle most unique to The Cuvette, the journal implements practitioner-inclusive practices, including practice-centered formatting and guidelines, elevating practitioners’ roles in the co-creation of practice-focused education research and providing mechanisms to evaluate the impact of science education research on practice.

Guidelines for practice-focused writing & formatting are provided.

Too often, science education research articles are too lengthy, dense, and convoluted to be helpful to practitioners.[51][52][53] In their 2018 study, Andersen & Hackos [43] interviewed 11 practitioners, concluding they recognized that academic research applies to them but found it difficult to discern how to apply it from the text. This suggests the formatting of academic articles is generally more difficult to read and implement.

First, we acknowledge there are situations wherein researchers within a niche topic or practitioners implementing the same innovations in science education would benefit from communicating with one another directly. Thus, we outline various publishing routes and contribution types in “Diversely Published.”

For researchers in science education interested in writing for implementation are provided with practice-focused writing guidelines and a formatting template. This template supports authors interested in restructuring from the traditional IMRaD (Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion) format to more practice-focused formats. One currently in development is the OEPI (Outcomes, Evidence, Practice, and Implementation) format:

  • Outcomes - What key prediction, recommendation, question, or call-to-action do the authors have to contribute?

  • Evidence - What evidence inspired the above outcome?

  • Practice - How does this evidence translate into practice?

  • Implementation - How could the implementation of the evidence influence the outcome? Which use cases do the authors foresee?

This may also allow authors to reformat research previously published in the IMRaD format that may be more useful to practitioners in OEPI.

These initiatives will likely undergo further refinement to serve practitioners properly. One practice that will further our efforts to produce practice-focused contributions to science education is the inclusion of practitioners in the peer review process.

Practitioners are supported as co-creators & evaluators of practice-focused education research.

In an analysis, MacLellan examines why teachers tend not to use education research.[54]

Perhaps the problem of getting education research into classrooms comes down to that disconnect between the two audiences: the researchers for whom the research articles are written, and the teachers who want to apply the research in their teaching. As Keith points out, this isn't a problem faced by other areas of academic inquiry, where the audience and the practitioners are the same group.

~ MacLellan [54]

Using Questionnaires and Focus Groups to explore the researcher-practitioner gap, Vanderlinde and Braak identified the need for scholarly communities that replace the current top-down dissemination model with one of co-creation between researchers and practitioners.[55] This idea appears throughout the literature as “professional learning communities” [55][56], “transformational partnerships” [57], and “culture for using research” [58].

Calls for community between researchers and practitioners are, in part, what led to the development of The Cuvette, a professional learning community dedicated to advancing science education. We have created a space for researchers, practitioners, and administrators to collaborate, evaluate, and disseminate science education advancements through various contribution types. We have elevated the voice of practitioners by ensuring their compensated participation in reviewing practice-focused research, feedback on research implementations, and support in conducting the action and other forms of investigation within and beyond their classrooms.

Educationally-relevant measures of research impact are in development.

Consider how other researchers often write, review, and edit research, with measures of impact often reduced to how often other researchers cite a researcher’s research.

Earlier, we discussed the importance of replacing journal-impact factors, representing the reduction of research impact to where it’s published, to article-level measures of research impact in “Ethically Sourced.” Even on an article level, we would argue the impact of education research cannot be appreciated by citation count.

For example, some education research journals equate “rigor” to data collection and analysis.[59] However, given inequities in practitioners’ access to the resources required to conduct such studies, practitioners are often prevented from accessing career-related benefits associated with publishing articles.[60] Another consequence of this structure is that practitioners effectively have little influence over the impact of researchers’ scholarship, disincentivizing their prioritization of making the research accessible to practice.

Even educators who engage in research are also subject to exclusion. Both educator researchers6 and researcher educators7 have encountered obstacles in attaining tenure and other promotions due to the misalignment between the value of their work and academic norms in evaluating research impact.[49][50] Additionally, publishers have discriminated against entire fields (notably often education-related) as their papers do not generate as many citations as papers in other fields.[29]

Thus, we argue reducing education to citation count harms our collective disciplines and seek to work within the community to identify educationally-relevant measures of impact. For example, each contribution could be equipped with means to collect educationally-relevant estimates of impact provided by practitioners, researchers, and administrators who have reviewed or implemented the research.

In summary

Innovations in science education should be practitioner-inclusive. At The Cuvette, this means aligning the impact of innovations in science education with its utility and implementation in practice and supporting practitioners with a professional learning community that bridges the researcher-practitioner-administrator gap with supports and spaces for collaborative writing, reviewing, and implementing advancements in science education. We seek active feedback and contribution from our community in advancing our capacity to be practitioner-inclusive.

Diversely Published

Innovations in science education should be diversely published or provided in several formats providing authors with multiple routes to publication to reach broader audiences.

Advancements in science education are often published using the IMRaD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) format in academic journals that cater to a particular discipline and are subjected to curation before being released to the general public.[61][62][63][64] This norm creates exclusivity around who should (or can) contribute to the advancement of science education and how it should be done, allowing publishers to control knowledge production by simply adhering to academic tradition. Consequences of this norm include the exclusion of those unfamiliar with navigating the annals of academic publishing,[65][66] the loss of information essential to contextualization in favor of maintaining academic traditions,[67] publication bias,[68][69] and difficulties in publishing replicative studies [70] in academic journals curating for novelty over nuance.

To subvert this norm, we have developed practices to support disciplinary and interdisciplinary communication, multiple routes to publication, and variety in the accepted contributions.

Disciplinary & interdisciplinary communications are facilitated.

In 2019, Liu and Wang published an editorial introducing a new Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research journal.[71] In this editorial, they communicate the emergence of three trends:

  1. Increased demand for interdisciplinary science education inquiry,

  2. The globalization of science education beyond primarily English-speaking countries, and

  3. The parallel but disjointed emergence of Discipline-Based Science Education Research (DBER) from broader science education.

Some journals are dedicated to broader science education (e.g., the Journal of Research in Science Teaching), and some are DBER-specific journals (e.g., Chemistry Education Research and Practice, the Journal of Biological Education, Advances in Engineering Education). However, there are few spaces where disciplinary and interdisciplinary science educators can exchange ideas and expertise. This may promote silos in education research and limit the efficacy by which theory and practice are advanced.

At The Cuvette, we seek to create globalized interdisciplinarity, or the cooperation between disciplines to integrate methodologies, theories, and practices to advance inquiry and research.[72] Therefore, we intentionally created spaces on The Cuvette website for ideas to cross fluidly within and between the disciplines of science education in the form of discussion groups, forums, comment sections, and more.

These spaces could offer several benefits.

  • Dedicated spaces for communications with varying specificity for those who engage with the professional learning community,

  • Opportunities for researchers, practitioners, and administrators to engage with one another, share relevant resources, and develop collaborations.

  • Improved access to interdisciplinary communication, broadening access to knowledge advancement, and promoting cooperation in replication studies across disciplines.

Multiple routes to publication are available.

From the perspective of professional learning communities, unpublished and unwritten advancements in science education are equivalent. Limited to the traditional publication route (submitreviewpublish) [73] subjects scholars to substantive opportunity costs.[74][75]

To empower educators and make advancing science education more accessible, authors are provided multiple routes to disseminating their knowledge. Currently, The Cuvette offers the following publication routes (see Table 2).

Table 2





Traditional contributions undergo one stage of peer review, remaining inaccessible to the public until the review is complete.

submit, review, & publish


Registered contributions undergo two stages of peer review. Once for the contribution plan and once for the report.

This results in two published products: the registered plan and report, each made publicly available after peer review.

Regardless of the results, reports adhering to reviewed plans will be published.


submit, review, & publish


submit, review, & publish


Pre-print contributions are published first and require no stages of peer review. Authors retain the right to submit pre-prints for traditional publication at any time.

submit & publish

All contributions to The Cuvette are subject to quality control review, are labeled according to route, and are provided a citable, permanent identifier (e.g., DOI, ISSN, or permalink).

A variety of contribution types are accepted.

Articles are valuable but, especially given advancements in digital communication, are not the only means for disseminating innovations in science education. The Cuvette provides leaders in science education with a diverse array of media to distribute their knowledge, including the following: articles,8 books, courses, curricular materials, infographics, panel discussions, poems, podcasts, posters, presentation slides, short stories, and talks.

Contributions are further organized by intended audience and type. Examples of audiences include students, researchers, practitioners, administrators, and policymakers. Examples of contribution types are listed below.9

  • Anecdotal - sharing one’s perspective or interpretation of perspectives about a phenomenon.

  • Exploratory - outlining new principles, theories, or phenomena for investigation.

  • Foundational - clarifying or developing known principles, theories, or phenomena.

  • Implementation - sharing discoveries using another contribution in a particular context.

  • Action - investigations of a problem by a scholar who is a variable in the phenomena observed (e.g., educators investigating classroom changes).

  • Applied - explorations of specific problems identified using exploratory or foundational contributions.

  • Explanative - analyses of the causality between variables as characterized by exploratory or foundational contributions.

  • Evaluative - analyses of the efficacy or impact following changes in policy, practice, pedagogy, curricula, etc.

  • Negative/Null - contributions with results that do not support the hypothesis or nullify the research aims.

  • Replicative - contributions repeating the implementations of other contributions across contexts.

  • Aggregative - contributions serving as a review, meta-analysis, or other syntheses of previously published works.

To support members of our professional learning community in identifying the advancements in science education most pertinent to them, they can search and subscribe to lists of contributions organized by discipline, publication route, media, intended audience, and type in addition to the keywords authors assign to their contributions that may reflect specific methodologies, theories, pedagogies, practices, and other topics. See “Technologically Relevant” for more information about the tools and media The Cuvette provides.

Technologically Relevant

Innovations in science education should be technologically relevant, implementing modern tools & resources to improve writing, dissemination, and readability. Given unprecedented access to digital communication technologies, there are several ways publishers could provide user-friendly access for the authors and readers of a professional learning community. Here, we outline three: digital-first design, access to modern writing applications designed for scholars, ability to share across platforms.

Digital- or web-first design is used for readability.

Most scientific articles are distributed as PDF documents.[76] PDF is not the Web’s native format and reflects a time wherein articles were first distributed on paper and then distributed electronically.[77][78] PDFs impose paginated layouts inaccessible to some readers, make mobile browsing cumbersome, place limitations on interactive content, and restrict the efficiency of search engines which delays or prevents impact citation indexes.[79]

While PDFs are certainly provided to readers for annotating and sharing, The Cuvette uses a web- or digital-first approach.[80][81] This means articles are typeset in HTML on the site for authors, are available to readers via export to PDF, ePub, and several other formats, and are machine readable.[81]

Access to modern writing formats & applications is provided.

Each scholar may develop preferences for the specific formats, applications, and workflows to brainstorm new ideas, examine prior research, identify knowledge gaps, design studies, manage citations, and draft and edit their manuscripts. This workflow may involve an intricate web of word processors, reference managers, project planners, digital storage spaces, and communication platforms. These tools may not necessarily be designed for academic writing and come with limitations that result in lagging, crashing, data loss, miscommunication, and other frustrations.

We partnered with PubPub, an open-source, community-led, end-to-end publishing platform for knowledge communities, to provide authors the option of using an online application designed for academic writing that provides the following benefits:

  • A built-in reference manager that automatically compiles, generates, and reformats references and their numbering,

  • Real-time editing and communications with co-authors,

  • Multi-file imports and exports in any format (e.g., Word, XML, LaTeX, Markdown).

  • Embed rich multimedia, including data visualizations, images, video, audio, math, code, interactives, etc.

  • Preserve, explore, and reinstate previous drafts with document histories and permanent archiving via CrossRef,

  • Connect supplemental information, review reports, and other helpful content to the article’s permanent identifier,

  • Provide updates to work using versioning,

  • Access to various measures of impact with a full suite of privacy-respecting analytics.

Authors also have the option to host public and private discussions with and receive annotations from the authors’ readership, just one of several mediums made available to them to connect with their readers.

Broader audiences can be engaged with discussions across platforms.

Confronted with an ever-growing literature base, a reader’s capacity to gain familiarity with innovations in any discipline could be improved with 1) access to advanced search and filter options and 2) the capacity to discuss and share across platforms.

Contributions to The Cuvette are SEO-optimized and machine-reader-friendly for easy searching and indexing. Readers can filter contributions by categories, tags, and keywords corresponding to the organizational structure described in “Diversely Published.”

Coded in HTML, contributions can be accessed in over 100 languages and are presented beautifully across desktops, tablets, or cell phones. Readers can like and follow contributions or authors, follow one another, easily share contributions across social media platforms, and leave comments with videos and images. Readers can also start forums about contributions on the learning community app and site or within community-generated groups around a specific topic, discipline, methodology, pedagogy, etc.

In summary

Innovations in science education should be technologically relevant. At The Cuvette, we are leveraging advancements in digital communications to build capacity for more efficient and purposeful dissemination of knowledge about science education.

An Invitation for Contributions

Here, we formally invite leaders in science education to publish their contributions with The Cuvette following the journal’s launch on the 1st of February, 2023. The journal publishes annual volumes of seasonal issues. Each issue will include editorials, contributions organized into general topics,10 contributions related to a highlighted topic, & a financial report.

Table 3 lists highlighted topics,11 proposed for the journal’s first four issues.

Table 3

Issue #

Contributions due by

Highlighted Topic



1 June 2023

Advancing methodology

Creating novel, expanding present, or repurposing methodologies from other disciplines to advance science education.


1 September 2023

Reviews & syntheses of prior research

Synthesizing published works (via meta-analyses, reviews, and other aggregations) to gain insight into important topics in science education.


1 December 2023

Questioning normalized terminologies

Operationalizing and testing normalized terms related to science education (e.g., serving in HSIs, active in active learning, evidence in evidence-based pedagogies).


1 March 2024

Interrogating structural injustice

Examining current practices limiting or accelerating the impact of justice-centered reforms in science education.

We seek contributions representing various communities and perspectives, including investigations of structural norms in science education.


The Cuvette represents a bold initiative to empower science educators by subverting toxic academic norms to advance science education. My colleagues and I will consider The Cuvette a success when its practices promote the following in science education:

  • Researchers supporting Practitioners by writing increasingly accessible, practice-focused research,

  • Practitioners collaborating with Researchers to examine the curiosities, issues, and successes observed in their learning environments, and

  • Administrators facilitating and incentivizing collaborations between Researchers and Practitioners to prioritize educational reforms capable of meeting the needs of each community’s Students.

We ask the professional learning community to hold us accountable for the five principles of developing this academic journal. Click here to access a forum for members to offer suggestions on how we can better serve this community. Feel free to engage with this editorial using the comments section or tagging @TheCuvette on a social media platform that is accessible to you.

We look forward to building an increasingly inclusive, radically transparent, and community-centered space to advance science education with you.


Much effort and intention have been invested into developing The Cuvette and this editorial. We cannot express enough gratitude for the support we have received from our colleagues and the wisdom of our mentors, colleagues, and students toward developing this journal.

Vanessa Rosa expresses gratitude to Lee Rumbarger, Laurel Bastian, Austin Hocker, Pam Joslin, Julie Mueller, and Jason Schreiner of the University of Oregon’s Teaching Engagement Program; Franny Gaede, Director of Digital Scholarship Services for the University of Oregon for their encouragement and support early in the journal’s development.

Adri Corrales would like to thank their supervisor and mentor, Molly Atkinson, for her enthusiastic support in pursuing this endeavor.

Laleh Coté would like to thank Sinéad Griffin of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for her support as a thought partner during this project and many others.

We are also profoundly grateful to our colleagues Jacky Deng (University of Ottawa), Paulette Vincent-Ruz (New Mexico State University), and Jess Karch (Tufts University & TERC) for sharing their perspectives as educators and researchers in science education in edits and feedback essential to the development of this editorial.

Finally, we thank the publishers of the 44 open-access resources cited herein and Alexandra Elbakyan, without whom access to 35 gated articles may not have been possible.

A Supplement to this Pub
Vanessa Rosa, Ph.D.:

This an example of discussions that can be had across published works advancing science education research.