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The journey of a science startup: Community building for academic services

A conversation with John Hammersley about the journey of Overleaf and his current role in researcher and community engagement at Digital Science.

Published onSep 22, 2023
The journey of a science startup: Community building for academic services

John Hammersley is one of the founders of Overleaf. He joins Jo on this episode to share his journey with the scholarly collaborative writing tool Overleaf and its flexibility in fitting into researchers' workflows, its support for multilingual documents, and the potential for linking data and papers. The conversation also touches on the importance of collaboration between academia and industry, as well as the need for kindness and openness in the research community.

LinkedIn: john-hammersley-6419a266

Twitter: @DrHammersley


Listen here:

To see all our podcast episodes go to


Overleaf website:

Digital Science Blog tl;dr - John Hammersley’s posts:

THE interview: “Why I left academia post-PhD for the world of driverless cars”;

The Overleaf Founder Story

Talking points

  • As the founder of Overleaf, please tell us about your personal and research background, as well as the experiences and events that planted the idea for Overleaf in your head.

  • Why the name “Overleaf”? :) what is the story behind the brand name?

  • What was it like during the early days at Overleaf? What were the challenges, lessons learned, and positive experiences that kept you going to grow Overleaf into what we know it as today?

  • How do you see scholarly services embedded in the wider academic landscape, facilitating the research workflow including knowledge dissemination aka publishing?

  • In your current role at Digital Science, what are your responsibilities and how do these tie in with your previous roles as the founder/CEO at Overleaf? (referring to decisions made regarding career transitions)

  • What is your vision of the scholarly services landscape in the next 5 years?

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