Certification and Payment

Last updated
April 16, 2019

We believe that it's important to fairly compensate authors for their work. We also believe it's important to be able to provide storytelling training to scientists at a low financial cost.

In order to provide storytelling training to scientists at a reasonable cost, we don't pay for an author's initial contributions. We believe this is a fair exchange of our editors' time and expertise and writers producing articles.

However, we also understand that working without compensation can be a significant obstacle for some. We recently started the Photon Fellows program, where a small number of writers are supported  by small grants from Two Photon. We hope to expand the program in the future. If you're a company interested in sponsoring training, reach out to us at

Our entire training process has been designed to accommodate busy schedules, so you can move through your training at your own pace. Upon completing training, you'll become a Certified Member. Learn more about the benefits of certification below.

Earning Certification (Training)

We know the best way to learn is by doing, which is why our training involves a mixture of drafting articles, submitting lab notes, and contributing peer commentary. Our Storytelling 101 course is an optional part of this training process that will help you complete the requirements below.  By the time you've finished the required writing, we're confident that you'll have gained significant science storytelling skills.

You'll earn certification after you do all of the following:

✔️ Publish 2 Articles 

  • Publishing an article requires getting your story pitch approved by one of our Assistant Editors. Learn about what makes a good pitch in our resource.

✔️ Publish 2 Lab Notes 

  • Learn more about what makes a good Lab Note and get inspiration for your next submission in our resource.
  • Submit a Lab Note using our online form. You can also find the link to the submission form on any Lab Notes page.

✔️ Contribute 2 Peer Comments 

If you're ever confused about the certification requirements and what you've completed, get in touch with us at

Certification Benefits

After you become certified, you'll earn several benefits in terms of both compensation and contribution opportunities:

Get paid for Articles you publish with us

You can pitch us ideas outside of our provided story topics, but you'll still need to work with our editors to ensure your pitch aligns with our areas of coverage and angles.

We'll also send story call-outs and commissions to our Certified members, meaning you can skip the pitch approval process and just get started writing. You'll earn the same for commissioned and call-out pieces as you would a piece you pitch yourself.

The more you publish with us, the more you'll earn! 

  • 3rd and 4th published articles = $65/article.
  • 5th through 9th published articles = $90/article.
  • 10th + articles = $115/article

Get paid for your Lab Notes submissions

We offer Certified members a flat fee for any Lab Notes they submit to us. For each Lab Note that gets published, we'll pay you $20.

Participate in special projects and other opportunities

We occasionally recruit Certified members to work closely with us on special projects, such as in-depth reports or zines. You'll often be paid for your contributions at a higher rate than for publishing articles, given the specialized nature of your contributions.