Welcome to the BioTechniques Forum. Below you can find a list of frequently asked questions to help answer your queries about using the forum. If you still have questions, please use our live chat feature or contact us at info@biotechniques.com.


What is the forum?

The forum is designed to allow laboratory researchers to quickly and easily ask other experts in their field for help troubleshooting methods, techniques and protocols, and to help them network.

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Is the forum free to join?

Yes – there is no fee to join the forum. Forum content is open to all readers, but those who wish to post in the forum are required to register.

Who can post on the forum?

The forum is open to anyone working in a research laboratory. All posts will be moderated after publication by our team of moderators. If not relevant or appropriate, posts will be removed or the moderators will offer recommendations on how to improve the posts.

What should I post?

The forum is a network of experts who work in research laboratories. Researchers are welcome to post questions in the forum to help them troubleshoot their methods and protocols. Users are encouraged to answer the posts of other users where they are able to provide expertise.

Does the forum post sponsored content?

The BioTechniques Forum does host sponsored content. This content allows the forum to provide relevant and timely information to users, and to operate free of charge. When content is sponsored, this will be made clear.

How do I ask a question/create a post?

  • Sign in to the forum
  • Either click the notepad icon on the top navigation bar then 'Post', or click your icon in the top right corner, 'My posts' then 'New post' - either way a 'New post' page will then appear
  • Give your post a title and introduction - the introduction should be a one-sentence summary of your content, but is not a required section
  • Select the appropriate channel for your post – this will ensure the right experts see it
  • If you wish to add a poster image to sit behind the title of your post, this will help readers identify what the post is about and help it stand out. Click 'Add new poster image' to upload a new poster image (it should be around 1280×960 pixels and .jpg), or select an existing one from the 'Poster image' drop-down. If you change your mind, you can remove the poster image by clicking it again in the drop-down list
  • Write or paste your text in the main content section. You can use bold, italic etc. to format your text and add in images, videos and tables (more details below)
  • To add an image, click the image icon on the editing bar and browse for the image of your choice (must be .jpeg format). Once placed in the page you can click the 'edit' button on the image to change the positioning or add a hyperlink
  • To embed a YouTube video, go to the video in YouTube and click on the share button. Click on the embed tab and then 'Show more'. Select the desired video size from the dropdown. Copy the new embed code, click the 'Insert video' button in the editor and paste
  • To embed a Vimeo video, go to the video in Vimeo and click the embed code. Copy the new embed code, click the 'Insert video' button in the editor and paste
  • To add hyperlinks to your text, highlight the text you want to act as the link, click the link icon on the editing bar and click 'Insert link'. Add the URL into the window that opens and click the tick box 'Open in new tab' to ensure the reader is not taken away from your article when they are reading it, should they click on the link. Click 'Insert'
  • To add a table, click on the 'Table' button in the editor toolbar. Enter the number of rows and columns that you would like in your table and click 'Insert'. You can add or delete rows, columns and headers once the table is created by clicking on the 'Table' button again
  • Once you are happy with how your article looks, you are ready to publish! Click the 'Publish' button
  • The post is now live on your site. Anyone that follows you will now receive an email telling them that you have created a post
  • If you want to edit your post at any time, click on the person icon on the top navigation bar and choose 'My Posts' from the drop-down. You'll be taken to your list of posts, and will see an 'Edit' button next to each post

Additional hints and tips

For longer posts, it can help to create a document version of your post and then paste it over, rather than writing the text in the text box on the 'New post' page. However, bear in mind that images cannot be copied over and must be uploaded within the post directly.

To optimize for online reading, aim to keep paragraphs short, and use headings and lists where appropriate to break up the page. You should also link to any sources and references as necessary. You can make headings stand out by 'Formatting' button, and selecting a font type - 'Header 3' works well for subheadings within the text. As standard, the bulk of the text should be set to 'Normal text'.

How do I answer questions?

All content can be commented on by other users, so everyone can help answer questions, share their related expertise, add additional information or content, discuss any points of contention and share any feedback.

  • Sign in to the forum
  • Click on the content you wish to comment on
  • Click the 'Comment' button beneath the title or scroll towards the bottom of the page to find the comments section
  • Type in your comment in the comments box and click 'Post comment'
  • The comment will appear, alongside your name and photo, in the comments section
  • Click 'Delete' if you wish to delete your comment

How do I complete my profile?

Once you have signed up to the forum, your first step should be to complete your profile, which will enable your peers to connect with you more easily, help you stand out and make your posts look more esthetically pleasing.

  • Sign in to the forum
  • Click on the person icon on the top right of the page, then 'Edit profile'
  • Fill in the fields such as 'Job title' and 'Profile' to let people know more about you. In particular, the tagline and profile are there for you to share a little bit about yourself such as your work background or interests
  • The 'Content' dropdown allows you to pick out once piece of content you have published to be highlighted on your profile page: when you have published content, select one to showcase
  • Complete 'Public contact details' if you wish to make it easier for people to get in touch
  • Complete 'Social' if you wish to link to your social media accounts. Please note these need to be the URLs, not the twitter handle etc.
  • Click 'Save'
  • Click on the person icon again and 'View profile' to check you are happy with your changes
  • To add a profile photo, click on the person icon again and 'Account settings', then 'Avatar' to browse and upload a .jpg profile photo
  • Choose an image that is larger than 400×400 pixels and save changes
  • When your image has been selected, you'll be asked to crop it. Select the region of the photo that you want to make your profile photo and press crop - we recommend you leave a reasonable gap around the edge to allow for where your photo will appear in a circle. Your image may take a couple of minutes to update

Additional hints and tips

On the 'Account settings' page you can also update your linked email address, change your password, create an introductory video for your profile, invite other users to join and update your email preferences/notifications.

How do I publish videos?

Videos are another way you can share knowledge and insight with the community. Vlogging with your webcam is great for those who find writing long posts, such as method descriptions, too time consuming, prefer a more personal approach or want to experiment with a different kind of post. You can also upload pre-recorded videos, such as a talk or protocol demonstration.

Recording on webcam

  • Sign in to the forum
  • Either click the notepad icon on the top navigation bar then 'Video', or click your icon then 'My videos' - either way you should then see a list of any videos you have already created
  • Click 'Record on webcam' and fill in the fields
  • Click the recording area and wait for the countdown before speaking. You need to complete one continuous recording: you cannot start and stop and carry on from that point
  • Click stop when finished, then you can either re-record, replay or publish the video

Uploading a pre-recorded video

  • Sign in to the forum
  • Either click the notepad icon on the top navigation bar then 'Video', or click your icon then 'My videos' - either way you should then see a list of any videos you have already created
  • Click 'Upload new video' and browse for the file you want
  • Click upload, and allow a few moments to upload, which depends on the file size
  • Once it has uploaded you can edit the title and other supporting information sections

Additional hints and tips

  • Pre-uploaded videos will automatically upload with the title as the file name's title. If you wish to use a different title, you should rename the video file with the title you want for the video post before uploading it.
  • The feature image for a video is automatically selected - it will use the screenshot at 2 seconds into the video.

How do I create a panel discussion?

Panels are video discussions between 2-4 people, and allow forum users to organize and carry out group chats with colleagues live through your webcams. Furthermore you can also, if you wish, publish recordings to the forum; for example, you can use the capability to publish a video interview. The feature is therefore similar to Skype, but with additional recording and publication capability. If you would like to create a panel discussion, please contact the Editorial team in the first instance.

How to create a panel

  • Sign in to the forum
  • Either click the notepad icon on the top navigation bar then 'Panel discussion', or click your icon then 'My video panels' - either way you should then see a list of any panels you have already created and, if you have permission, the option to 'Create a video panel'
  • Type a name for your panel discussion
  • Invite panelists - they must be a member of the forum - then click 'Save'
  • You have now created your panel - it is essentially an online video chat that you can drop in and out of for the next 24 h. You can schedule with your panelists to all join the panel at the same time, and you can drop in and out of the panel as many times as you like. To leave a panel, click 'Leave panel'

How to record a panel

  • You must already have created or been invited to a panel. To access it, click on your icon in the top right corner, then 'My video panels'. You should then see a list of all your panels - click on the desired one and click 'Join panel'
  • To record the panel, click the green 'Record' button - your panel will now be recording
  • To stop the recording, click 'Stop recording'
  • You can start and stop recording as much times as you like - each recording will save as a new video

How to publish a panel

  • If you have recorded a panel, you can publish it! However, please note that only the panel organizer can record, play back and publish videos
  • To get to your panel recordings, click on your icon in the top right corner, then 'My video panels'. You should then see a list of all your panels - click on the desired one and click 'Recordings'
  • Click on the desired recording - as default, they will have saved as 'Video1', 'Video2', etc.
  • Fill in the title and supporting information fields (e.g., you could introduce your panelists here and give an introduction to the subject of the discussion) and select the channel in which the video will appear. The feature photo for the video will be automatically selected as the screenshot from the 2-second time point in the video
  • Click 'Publish'

Additional hints and tips

  • All videos are recorded in one take, and cannot be cut down or edited
  • When in a call, the organizer can select who appears enlarged, but bear in mind that in any published video, all panelists will appear the same size throughout the video. Similarly, all participants have a capability to mute other panelists during the call, but this will not affect the audio in the final recording
  • If you cannot see all participants in a call but they have joined the panel, everyone should click 'Leave panel', go into 'My video panels' and re-join the panel
  • Panels require high internet speed, the latest version of Firefox or Chrome and each panelist must have a microphone, speakers and a webcam - a headset or headphones with a microphone produce the best sound

How do I publish a document file?

Uploading documents can help you to share information with your forum, such as presentations: it works particularly well for slide decks. These files can also be downloaded by users of the forum.

Where possible we advise publishing text content as a post (See ‘How to ask questions/create posts' above) rather than PDF, as posts are easier to read on any device and the text is searchable by search engines, thereby making it more likely that people will reach the page.

  • Save your file as a PDF - most file types can be saved in .pdf form, including PowerPoint files
  • Either click the notepad icon on the top navigation bar then 'Document', or click your icon then 'My documents' - either way you should then see a list of any documents you have already uploaded.
  • Click the 'Upload new slidedeck' button
  • Browse your computer for the PDF you want to upload, and when you select a file it will automatically upload
  • Your PDF will now be shown in the list of your PDFs, where you can then click 'Edit' to include the title etc. and then click 'Update'

Additional hints and tips

The PDF automatically uploads with the title as the file name's title. If you wish to use a different title, you should rename the PDF file as the name you want for the PDF post before uploading.

What is voting, following and sharing?

These three features allow you to interact with other users and content, and share it with others on social media.

How to follow

Following allows you to stay up to date with particular users by ensuring you receive a notification whenever they publish content. Following is not a requirement to see their content - all registered members can access all content on the site.

  • Sign in to the forum
  • Click on the name of profile image of the user you wish to follow: whether from the homepage or channels (find different channels from the drop-down menu on the top left of the navigation bar)
  • You will be taken to their profile page, where you can click 'Follow' to receive their content publication notifications. The button should change color and now say 'Following'
  • Click again to unfollow as desired
  • Click the paper airplane button under the user's name to send private messages to other users
  • You can follow our Recommended Experts directly on the homepage - just click the 'Follow' button under their name
  • We also recommend you follow the Editors' accounts to stay up to date with the latest news from the forum

How to vote

All content can be voted on by users - an easy way to let the author know that you liked the post.

  • Sign in to the forum
  • Click on the content you wish to vote
  • Click the 'Vote up' button beneath the content's title

How to share

If you have seen something you like or published your own content, sharing it on social media can expand its reach even further and ensure the right person helps answer your question.

  • Sign in to the forum
  • Click on the content you wish to share
  • Click your preferred social media channel out of Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook
  • A new tab/window will open where you can edit the social media post as required and share from your social media account