Resources and community for teaching physics for life sciences

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Living Physics Portal Review Process

Thank you for your interest in contributing your resources to the Living Physics Portal. This is a collection of resources developed and shared by members of our community. By contributing your work, you are joining with other members of the Portal who share their course content to help other faculty teaching physics courses for life sciences students and to collaborate on the improvement of these resources available to all.

The Living Physics Portal resources are housed in three different libraries. These are the:

  1. Community Library
  2. Vetted Library
  3. Peer-reviewed Library

Overview of Portal libraries

Community Library

The Community Library is the first place users contribute their materials to the Living Physics Portal. These materials are only viewable by registered members of the Living Physics Portal community. To submit your resource to the Community Library, you upload your files, and give us a few brief details about them. There is no review process for the Community Library; all submissions are accepted. Materials submitted to the Community Library are often under development, and including them in the Community Library makes them easy to share and get feedback on. Submitting to the Community Library is quick and easy.

Vetted Library

Once a resource is in the Community Library, you can choose to submit it to the Vetted Library. Vetted Library submissions are expected to be more refined and contain more supplementary information about using the resource than Community Library submissions. Vetted Library materials show up first in search results, are marked as “vetted”, and are accessible to all users (including non-registered users). During the Vetted Library submission process, you will be able to group and organize your files to clearly show which files go together and the relationships between these groups, and add more details about how to use your materials. After your Vetted Library submission is complete, you can still update, and make changes to your materials or the descriptions of them. Extensive updates may require additional editorial review. Submitting to the Vetted Library is a more involved process than submitting to the Community Library, but Vetted Library submissions are seen and used by more users, and contain the implementation and pedagogical information users need in order to use the materials well.

Peer-reviewed Library

The Peer-Reviewed Library is a future feature for the Living Physics Portal. This will be where you can submit your materials to go through a formal peer-review process and be published, similar to the way you would publish a journal article. To learn more about plans for our Peer-Reviewed Library, please see our peer review page.

Overview of the Vetted Library submission process

All materials contributed to the Vetted Library are reviewed by the Portal editorial team. Vetted Library reviews are meant to be a check that the content is suitable for the Portal and the information provided is helpful to other instructors. This review is not as in-depth as a review of a journal article, but is used to maintain a level of quality agreed upon by our editors. Once you submit your materials to the Vetted Library, there is a 4-step process:The general review process is:

  1. Initial screening: An editor will check your contribution for alignment with the goals of the Portal and decide whether its appropriate for the Vetted Library. You will hear back from the editor within a week. (Note that if you are an experienced contributor to the Portal, you will be able to skip this step.)
  2. Preparation for Vetted Library: You will organize your files into subgroups and add details, and submit your contribution for editorial review.
  3. Editorial review: A member of the editorial team will review your contribution according to our detailed review criteria, and work with you to address any changes that need to be made.
  4. Acceptance to Vetted Library: If your contribution passes editorial review, it will be added to the Vetted Library.

You can submit resources at any grain size, from individual activities to large modules, to the Vetted Library. If you submit a large module, you will have an opportunity to break it up into independent resources that users can search for and view independently on the Portal. Each independent resource will have its own distinct information including highlights, description, implementation, pedagogy, etc.

The Vetted Library reviews are not meant to be scientific reviews of the submitted content. Editorial team members will do their best to catch scientific or mathematical errors, but due to the amount of content being reviewed and the community-sharing focus of the Portal, not all details will be examined.

Members of the editorial team will use their knowledge of the resources on the Portal and those aimed at life science students to help contributors relate their resources to other content. The editorial team will not perform searches for related content, but may make suggestions for the authors.

If you are interested in being a member of the editorial team, please contact an editor.

Editorial Team

Criteria for editorial review of curricular resources for the Vetted Library

The overall purpose of the Vetted Library Review is to check that the materials:

  1. Will be of interest to instructors and encourage them to explore and engage with the Living Physics Portal.
  2. Do not have any obvious and significant scientific, formatting, grammatical, or operational errors.
  3. Include information that helps instructors use the materials effectively, particularly instructors new to teaching a physics course for the life sciences.
  4. Have a life science connection or is part of a set of resources that does.


The Vetted Library review is based on the following rubrics. Acceptance in the Vetted Library will be based on meeting many, but not necessarily all, of these review criteria. Some rubrics are not applicable to some content. Reviewers will look most closely at the first two rubric categories: content description and content quality. Rubrics with an asterisk must be met for inclusion of a resource in the Vetted Library.

  1. Overview: content description and basic information
    • * Do the title, highlights, and abstract accurately describe the content of the resource? Are they well written and readable? Do they convey the important aspects of the resource?
    • * Are the listed resource type(s) appropriate for the resource?
    • * Are the listed topics (physics and life sciences, optionally chemistry and math) appropriate for the resource?
    • Is the information regarding author(s) and teams involved in creating the resource correct and complete? (Reviewers should judge this to the best of their knowledge.)
  2. Files: Content and Organization
    • * Is the content organized in way that will help other faculty find and use it in their classes? Does the content grouping and division into individual items make the materials easier to understand and use? Are resource sub-groups classified as independent if they can be used on their own? Will the titles and descriptions of independent sub-groups make sense to users who find them separate from their parent resource? (For example, a title “Homework” or “Lecture Notes” alone is not sufficient for an independent sub-group.)
    • * Are the physics and life sciences concepts (basically) correct?
    • * Is the content free of significant grammatical or mathematical errors and are the text, graphics, and tables readable and understandable?
    • * Does any interactive content (simulations, spreadsheets, etc.) operate well?
    • * Does the material use, refer to, or apply to life science systems?
    • Is there sufficient information to help instructors understand potentially unfamiliar models or concepts, particularly related to the life sciences. This can be in either instructor guides or as part of the content.
    • If feasible, are files provided in both editable (e.g. Word, Latex, etc.) and viewable (e.g. pdf, jpg, png) formats? If feasible, are there both student versions and instructor versions (with answer keys) of activities?
    • Has the content been uploaded to the Portal where possible, and contributed as linked web pages only where appropriate?
    • Is proper credit given to sources adapted in these materials? Are references, permissions, and copyright handled properly? (Reviewers should judge this to the best of their knowledge, but do not need to do an extensive search for related content.)
  3. Instructor Guide: Implementation & Pedagogy
    • * Do the listed pedagogical approaches and skills reflect the content in the resource set?
    • Are the equipment requirements appropriate for the resource? Are details included if different parts of the resource require different equipment?
    • Will the implementation tips and course flow information help other faculty use the content in their classes?
    • Is the information on usefulness to life science students understandable to other faculty, particularly those with limited knowledge of biological systems?
  4. Impact
    • * Will the materials attract instructors and encourage them to explore and engage with the Living Physics Portal further?
    • Does the material add new topics or pedagogy to the Portal? (This is not necessary for inclusion in the Vetted Library, but is of interest.)
    • Does the material build on or expand existing content on the Portal? (This is not necessary for inclusion in the Vetted Library, but is of interest.)
    • If the material is adapted from existing Portal content, does it  include a suitable explanation of what modifications were made and why?