{"objectType":14,"id":2014,"valid":true}
2014
    Roopali Rajput
Roopali Rajput
Microbiology Researcher

Dr. Vinita Jindal, one of my post-graduate professors, once said, "A Ph.D. is not an easy degree to attain. If it was, then everybody who wants one would have the honor of having one.". While pursuing my five-year career in research, this has become very obvious to me.

 

Influenza Virus at 295,000 Magnification Source: Fuse / Thinkstock
Influenza Virus at 295,000 Magnification
Source: Fuse / Thinkstock

"Pressure, pressure, pressure, you need to learn how to deal with pressure.", That’s a line I’ll never forget from my H.O.D. Dr. Charu Sudan, of my post-graduate college.

 

So here I am?a Ph.D. with BIG aims, ideas and goals.. The things that attracted me to the world of research were my desire to gain knowledge, my dream to significantly help society, and my perception of scientific research as a fair profession. But, I realized that academic research has as many challenging personalities as it has intellectual minds.

 

I started as a Junior Research Fellow in the Department of Microbiology at my university and, fortunately, I was unaffected by the politics at play in the laboratory for the next 7 months. Thanks to the research project I was involved in, I was then appointed to the National Institute of Immunology, which I really enjoyed, but I was later re-appointed to my university laboratory. My work majorly involved development of various strategies for inhibition of influenza virus replication in both in vitro and in vivo conditions. Initially, I studied the effect of RNAi agents, viz. siRNA, ribozymes (Rz), and chimeric siRNA-Rz constructs on viral propagation in cell lines and mouse models. Later, I switched on to immunological parameters, such as cytokine profiling, cell mediated immune responses, and production of recombinant monoclonal antibodies for use as diagnostic and/or therapeutic molecules.

 

One of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered as a Ph.D. student is trying to maintain a work-life balance and a social life outside of the lab. At times, the work can be all-consuming and it was difficult to resist my workaholic tendencies, especially when my workload became more than one person could handle. Sometimes it took something as simple as a short walk outside of the lab or a brief phone conversation with a friend to help me shift my perspective.

 

In India, family plays a crucial role along the journey for many Ph.D. students. Some students are lucky enough to live with their families while completing their doctoral degrees and they enjoy the financial and emotional support offered by them, while others have to cope with being far away from home while surviving in a grueling academic environment. I was fortunate that I had the complete backing of my parents and brother right from the start of my experience as a research scholar. I couldn’t imagine the completion of my research studies without their motivation, guidance and positive virtues. Many researchers pursue their studies with a deep attachment to their experimental work, which becomes a significant part of their lives 24x7x7. This can majorly affect their disposition in terms of social behavior and attitudes towards the people surrounding them, thus the support of family is that much more appreciated.

 

On the plus side, I’ve learned that upon completion of a Ph.D, the scholar has not only gained the knowledge of the subject he/she has studied, but has become a master of self. In the process of earning this degree, I’ve gained the virtues of patience, generosity, loyalty, kindness, benevolence, sincerity, and being a good listener, as well as more analytical , and I now have the skills to better maintain a work-life balance.

 

I’ve learned a new lesson every day and, together, these lessons have transformed me as a person.

    Vikki Renwick
Vikki Renwick
Assistant Marketing Manager, Author Marketing, Wiley

Wiley English Language Editing ServiceThere should be no barriers to getting your research published, yet manuscripts are often returned for English language and formatting issues. Wiley English Language Editing Services (ELES) offers authors access to a suite of services to help them prepare their manuscript – making the submission process easier.

“My manuscript entitled "Microscopic Polyangiitis associated with Pulmonary Fibrosis", a work about medicine, was rejected by some journals because its English redaction wasn't appropriate. After I sent it to Wiley Editing Service it was approved! One of the reviewer(s) said ‘This paper is well written and includes an important message for physicians.’ I'm very happy and grateful to Wiley ELES and I'll send future works.”  — M. Fernández Casares, Argentina

What is available and how does it work?

ELES consists of four different services:

English Language Editing (1)

There are two levels of editing: basic and advanced. For each service Wiley will pair you with a native English speaker in your area of research who verifies that the terminology and phrasing are correct, and checks for spelling and grammatical mistakes.

For the advanced editing service, your paper will also be edited by an experienced senior editor who will provide additional edits and in-depth suggestions on improving the flow of the document.

See an example

Translation Services (2)

Our translation service provides assistance to researchers who are more comfortable writing in a language other than English. The service offers translation from Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish into English – as well as reverse translation. Each translation includes English language editing. Our translators are academics with advanced degrees, who will provide an accurate, high-quality translation in your field.

ELES certIf you choose to use the English Language Editing or Translation Service, Wiley will guarantee that your paper will not be rejected for language reasons. We’ll even provide you with a certificate to submit alongside your paper, allowing journal editors to feel confident that the English language in your paper has been reviewed and verified by Wiley Editing Services.

Manuscript Formatting (3)

Journals often have specific style guidelines. Our skilled formatters ensure that your manuscript and references are formatted accordingly – saving you valuable time.

Support includes:

  • Citations, references, and layout of the document adjusted to the correct conventions
  • Figures and tables moved to the correct location
  • Figure titles and legends standardized to the journal specifications.

Figure Preparation (4)

Are all your figures and illustrations hand drawn? This service will create publication ready figure files, set to the correct size, resolution and layout to suit the specific journal you are submitting your research to – enhancing the impact of your research article.

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“It is very helpful to me!” — X. qingjie, China

To find out how ELES can be helpful to you, visit www.wileyeditingservices.com.

    Sophie Suelzle
Sophie Suelzle
Journal Publishing Assistant, Wiley
Paul Taylor from the Office of Research Integrity, University of Melbourne Source: Wiley
Paul Taylor from the Office of Research Integrity, University of Melbourne
Source: Wiley

This June, Wiley’s Australian journals team played host to 60 journal editors and partners in Melbourne for multidisciplinary seminars on publication ethics and best-practice journal publishing. Held over two days, these two events brought together clients, colleagues and fellow publishers to discuss journal publication, share thoughts and impart their knowledge on a range of current topics.

 

COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)seminarPublication ethics from student to professional hosted by Wiley’s Senior Journal Publishing Manager, Peter D’Onghia. The day included presentations on student researchers and publication ethics from the University of Melbourne’s Office of Research Integrity, and a discussion of the ethics of data publication from the Australian National Data Service. COPE Chair Dr Virginia Barbour walked us through the new COPE guidelines, which offer an increased focus on case studies, authorship and plagiarism, whistle-blowers, as well as perspectives on text recycling and correction of literature. Wiley Australia’s Editorial Director Deb Wyatt introduced the second edition of Wiley’s Best Practice Guidelines on Publication Ethics. The afternoon was spent in workshop breakout sessions, in which delegates worked together and swapped ideas on a variety of cases concerning publication ethics.

 

Participants network at Wiley's Executive Seminar Source: Wiley
Participants network at Wiley's Executive Seminar
Source: Wiley

Wiley’s Best Practice Journal Publishing seminar saw key topics presented and put forth for debate, beginning with a talk on strategic journal development in China with Wiley China’s Editorial Director, James Murphy. James gave an overview of the unique and growing market in China, and projections for growth in research output to well over 400,000 SCI-listed articles per year by 2020. Both James and John Wanna, Editor-in-Chief of Australian Journal of Public Administrationspoke about the need to form close collaborative relationships in China in order to build journals’ reputations and profiles in the region.

 

Wiley’s Bibliometrics Analyst Jenny Neophytou led a discussion on the impact factor, guiding delegates through the complexities of bibliometric analysis. This was followed by a lively discussion on peer review, led by Dr Martha MacIntyre, Editor-in-Chief of The Australian Journal of Anthropology and Professor Aidan Byrne, CEO of the Australian Research Council, regarding the difficulty in finding reviewers for scholarly journals and the systemic lack of credit for peer review. Mike Bull detailed an exciting new plan from the Ecological Society of Australia to mentor early-career researchers in the art of peer review.

 

Below is a sampling of some of the feedback we received.

 

COPE Seminar:
“Fascinating and very constructive discussions”
“Excellent, well organized, great speakers”
“It was an excellent seminar, looking forward to attending another one”

 

Wiley Executive Seminar:
“I thought the day was well organized and well run. The quality of speakers was excellent and the topics covered were relevant and interesting”

 

On James Murphy: “It's fantastic to get a broad and deep view of the research environment in China”

 

On Peter Eastwood and Tomoo Yawata: “It's helpful to hear some hands-on experiences in journal development using the knowledge of bibliometrics”

 

Both bustling days were a great success?filled with enthusiastic presentations and open dialogue, and, most importantly, the seminar gave journal editors and society partners the opportunity to connect with each other, voice opinions and reflect on the issues and opportunities facing journal publishing in the future.

    Lee Skallerup Bessette
Lee Skallerup Bessette
Morehead State University

This is an excerpt of a review entitled "Enacting Positive Leadership in the World of Higher Ed" published in Women in HIgher Education.

 

Positive Academic Leadership Even the most optimistic member of the higher education community may roll their eyes while simultaneously reaching for Jeffrey Buller's Positive Academic Leadership: How to Stop Putting Out Fires and Start Making a Difference (Jossey Bass 2013), while they also hope it helps them figure out how to be a better leader in our constant state of “crisis” within academia. While negative leaders may indeed be fixated on problems, Buller says positive leaders are instead “aware of the possibilities and can build something useful out of even the worst type of problem.”

 

Walking us through much of the recent leadership literature both within and outside of higher education, Buller builds a credible definition of what positive academic leadership is, shows that it is in fact more effective than other, more familiar types of leadership, and then gives the reader a set of clear exercises and strategies that can be implemented immediately for an academic leader at any level.

 

The purpose of the book is to prompt readers to think past the way we typically do business in higher education and try something new, something different, something more productive and, yes, positive. However, readers may have trouble getting past the problems we have been fixated on for so long.

 

Naming the problems

Having read a number of books on leadership recently, I was struck by how many of the authors, some academics and some not, dismissed higher education generally, and faculty in particular, as being not just challenging but a downright nightmare to lead. The model of shared governance for Buller, however, is our unique strength, and one that requires a different approach to leadership. Top-down management styles will not be effective in the flatter, and admittedly messier, system within institutions of higher education.

 

Buller reminds us that collegiality is also an important value in higher education, and that positive academic leadership works to increase collegiality, among other things, in order to allow the system to flourish.

 

The challenge (or, put positively, the opportunity) in higher education is to lead in a way that allows for the system to reach what Buller calls a “maximum collegial flow” that puts people first, as well as “building a constructive environment that's conducive to generating one highly desirable outcome after another.” He reminds us that focusing on the people and systems within a department, for example, will lead to better retention rates, rather than focusing on the retention rates and willing or commanding the people within the department to improve them.

 

As I read, the question I kept returning to was, where are these leaders, and how can I work for them?

 

Starting with positivity
Leaders have to start by focusing on positive approaches to themselves, and this includes positive language, positive perspectives and positive strategies. Positive language forces leaders to think about the words they use to talk about themselves, as well as in their day-to-day interactions with the people they work with. Rhetoric shapes our reality.

 

Buller suggests that changing the way we talk about a situation (rather than, say, complaining about it) can change not only your own attitude but also the attitude of those around you. Using positive language to describe goals can also help get things done in a productive way.

 

Changing your language can lead to a positive change in your perspective on situations. While we might not be able to control many situations as leaders in higher education, we can control how we react and how we narrate events that continually arise.

 

One key to this change in perspective is “to compel ourselves to slow our responses, choose a more constructive vantage point to interpret the situation and only then respond in the skillful manner,” recommends Buller. This advice is particularly resonant in a period of great change, where there is increasing pressure to make decisions as quickly as possible.

 

Finally, Buller provides a number of exercises to identify what your values are, how your institution works and how those two elements overlap. This information leads to a concrete strategy you can adapt to become a better leader. It is these exercises and examples that are most helpful and useful throughout the book, to help readers put theory into practice quickly.

 

Defining positive leadership

Coach, conductor, counselor: these are three models for thinking about positive academic leadership. In the first two cases, the person is leading but ultimately the others do the hard work. However, without the coach or the conductor, there would be chaos. The coach and the conductor need to work to get all the parts of the whole working together for a greater goal. Each section, each person, has different strengths to be used at different times — Buller encourages readers to consider how would they, as positive academic leaders, nurture and utilize those roles?

 

The role of a counselor requires thinking about positive academic leadership as a strong mentoring role: how can you act on behalf of the people you work with and for, to everyone's benefit? Certainly, one of the important parts of this section is re-thinking how you work to mediate and negotiate the inevitable conflict that arises in departments and other larger units.

 

One of the keys of positive academic leadership is to put people first, where individuals aren't cogs or line items or expenses, but valued members of a larger organization. How can one chair or dean, then, work to change the attitude of an entire institution?

 

One of the ways is to model good behavior, but also to lead upward and laterally. In other words, remember that you are a part of a larger system; working within the organization, rather than simply being concerned with the smaller unit under your purview, can help change the culture of an institution.

 

Moving outward
Buller debunks the myth that higher education is in “crisis” — or at least not a new crisis. The role of higher education, the importance of STEM over the liberal arts, pure education over applied job training: these have all been a part of the debate surrounding higher education since its inception.

 

I agree with how he explains the so-called “crisis” in higher ed. But where I part ways with Buller in his reframing of the crisis narrative is in terms of the very real budget constraints facing public institutions of higher education due to reduced public funding. Certainly there are more people enrolled in higher education than ever before, but public funding is arguably at its lowest.

 

Buller does state that we need to do a better job making economic arguments to politicians in order to, if not restore funding, then at least stem the cuts. However, he does not address the counterargument that if education is an “individual” good, then the individual should pay for it.

 

Buller does need to address the fact that in many universities, the people that leaders are overseeing are not full colleagues but instead at-will contingent faculty. Much of the advice rang hollow, as it has been used to justify and placate adjunct faculty: You are part of a larger system! Think of all the good you are doing! Certainly, treating adjunct faculty as human beings is a step in the right direction. It will take a large reframing effort to positively come out of the situation we find ourselves in with regard to contingent faculty.

 

Healsoneeds to address the question of gender in regard to his advice and approach. His examples are a mix of men and women, but considering how men and women leaders are perceived, I am left to wonder if men are more likely to be taken seriously as positive academic leaders; meanwhile, women would be seen as either being too soft or too nurturing.

 

These are important questions because this book is too valuable, and the advice too important. We need more leaders like the ones he described in the book, and I want it to be a reality.

    Elizabeth Hay
Elizabeth Hay
Managing Editor, RCOG Journals
Breakout session at BJOG author workshop Source: BJOG
Breakout session at BJOG author workshop
Source: BJOG

Author workshops provide an important platform for journal editors to communicate directly with authors. They not only help authors to get hot tips on how to prepare their papers to give them the best chance of getting published, but also offer valuable insights for editors into what authors find challenging when writing papers, and common misconceptions and attitudes they may have. This in turn allows journals to adapt processes and communications, to better serve authors’ needs and expectations.

BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology regularly hold author workshops, usually as part of the scientific program of international conferences. Here are 10 top things the team considers when planning a workshop.

1) Who is your audience?

This may not always be known but if your workshop is part of a conference, it works nicely to adapt your examples (see below) and slides to the specialty/theme of the conference so that your material is as relevant and interesting to your authors as possible.

It is also useful to know the experience of your authors; are they new to writing papers? Have they published before? Are they struggling to get published? Again, this is not always known before the workshop but you can find out as part of your introduction, and this is a nice way to engage the audience right from the start. This will also give you an idea of which slides you can skip through, or if there are particular points you need to make throughout the presentations.

If you have a registration form for your workshop, you could ask the above questions as part of this to give yourself plenty of time to prepare.

2) How much time do you have?

In the past, we have held author workshops ranging from just 40 minutes to a full day. Clearly, the same content cannot be delivered in such varying timeframes so it is important to prioritize your messages according to the time you have. The longer you have, the more opportunity you have to hold breakout sessions (depending on the number attending). These sessions allow authors to discuss common problems and misconceptions with each other and report back to the group at the end. For shorter workshops, this is not possible but other options, such as holding ‘ask the editor’ sessions at another time provide the same opportunity for authors to ask questions specific to their work.

3) What is the key message you want your authors to remember?

We tend to have a few editors presenting at each workshop. To ensure consistency, it’s best to send slides to a central coordinator so they are branded consistently and there is not too much duplication throughout the workshop. That said, you may wish to repeat some key messages (e.g. read the instructions to authors!) and repeating the same slide at various points during the workshop can help ensure your messages are remembered.

4) Promote your Journal

Why should authors submit to your journal?

Much of the information you deliver will be generic to more than just your Journal. Make sure you use the opportunity to encourage (now) good authors to submit to yours. What do you do differently? What makes your publishing process better?

Promote other ways for authors to get involved in your Journal

We regularly try and coordinate other journal initiatives, such as the online Blue Journal Club (#BlueJC), which are relevant and helpful to authors. Journal Clubs help authors to develop skills in critically appraising papers, which in turn helps them to learn what to do and not to do when planning and writing their own research.

5) How many speakers do you need? Who will be available and relevant to your audience?

If your workshop has too many speakers, it runs the risk of appearing disjointed. A panel session at the end is a good way to involve everyone and share experiences, but to keep the main messages clear and focussed from your chosen speakers.

We tend to ask editors whose specialties match the specialty of the conference (if applicable). Chances are, these editors will already be attending the conference as speakers or delegates. Moreover, their names will be known to the community attending and will therefore draw the crowds. If possible, invite your Editor-in-Chief/senior editors to attend too.

6) Promoting your workshop

There is no point investing time in preparing and holding a workshop if no one knows about it! If your workshop is part of a conference, make sure you promote your workshop well in time (and in line) with other deadlines such as the early bird rate or abstract submissions. If you are affiliated with an organization which has an events calendar, contact your meetings/events team and see if your author workshop can be listed here too.

7) Engage with your audience

Workshops are not lectures. Authors attend to receive practical advice on getting published. Make sure your workshop is as interactive as time allows.

Talk to your authors

If you are short of time, you may only be able to do this as part of your introduction. If you have longer, breakout and panel sessions allow delegates to talk directly to editors, and each other.

Use examples

Try to provide real examples of your key points, e.g. how plagiarism checking works and what editors can see on the reports, or steps journals take to investigate suspected research misconduct.

Again, for longer sessions, you could invite authors to submit papers they are working on ahead of your workshop so you can include ‘real life’ do’s and don’ts.

If you are holding a smaller workshop, you may have time to allow authors to critique papers as a group. These papers could be their own which they have sent in advance. This may mean a more challenging workshop, but it’s arguably more valuable.

8) Are there any potential collaborators?

We have previously held workshops in partnership with other journals. Although this requires a little more coordination, it provides authors a good idea of the similarity and differences in publishing in different journals, and with different publishers. We find we learn something too!

9) Workshop materials

Do you have any resources for authors? Slide handouts are good, but if you have an author brochure, or even the latest version of your instructions to authors it is a nice way to present the information (and there is a lot!) in a concise and different format to the workshop. Memory sticks are also a tangible, portable take-away for multiple documents. Even a list of resources, such as Wiley Author Services, with links could prove valuable to both new and established authors.

10) Follow-up

Can you offer further support to delegates after the workshop? This is worthwhile as it will encourage authors to submit to your journal, as well as giving an additional reason for authors to attend the workshop. If you don’t have the resources, a list of useful websites and external services where authors can find further support is a valuable alternative.

    Julia Wilson
Julia Wilson
Development Manager, Sense About Science

There’s little doubt that peer review is an essential arbiter of scientific quality, so I think it’s important that we discuss its challenges and help answer the questions many researchers have surrounding it. That’s why I held two Sense About Science sessions on peer review at ESOF2014 – Europe’s top general science event – which was held in Copenhagen this June.

 

The sessions attracted an audience of early career researchers, policy makers, journalists and others who shared their concerns and ideas with our two panels of experts consisting of:

 

hands.jpgSource: NLshop / Thinkstock

  • Lars Rasmussen, Editor-in-Chief of Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
  • Iryna Kuchma, Open Access Program Manager at EIFL
  • Victoria Babbit, publisher at Taylor & Francis
  • Sabine Kleinert, Executive Editor at The Lancet
  • Paul Hardaker, Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics
  • Irene Hames, editorial and publishing consultant
  • Stephane Berghmans, VP Global Academic & Research Relations

 

We covered a lot of ground. Here are my top 5 insights from the discussions:

 

1.  Peer review is stretched
With such a high volume of papers getting submitted to journals, editors on the panel told us they are struggling to find willing reviewers and this is making the process very slow. Researchers are also struggling to find time to review with all the other competing pressures of work. ‘Cascade reviewing’ – where rejected papers are passed on to new journals with the review reports alongside – is becoming much more prevalent and helping to prevent redundancy of reviews.

 

2. We need better training
I asked for a show of hands – “Who has reviewed a paper?” Nearly everyone in the room put his/her hand up. My next question: “Who has had any peer review training?” Everyone put their hands down. Most attendees reported that they’d learned ‘on the job’ and felt better guidelines and training workshops would have made a big difference.

 

3. Reviewers want recognition
I was interested to hear that Denmark formally recognizes reviewing in their research assessments. If other countries followed their lead, I think this would put more pressure on institutions to provide support and training for reviewers. Publishers have also been looking at using ORCID identifiers to record peer review activity. Several early career researchers also raised concerns that they were reviewing papers on behalf of their supervisors without any acknowledgement. This needs to change and we should push for shared acknowledgement in these cases. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) also has useful guidelines to help protect early career researchers in these types of instances.

 

4. New models are springing up
This is such a fast moving area. New initiatives are offering financial incentives for reviews and creating communities of peers who all participate in reviewing. We are seeing new players managing peer review outside of the traditional journal model. Some, such as Peerage of Science, even encourage journals to bid for papers, so we are starting to see the publishing process getting turned on its head. But while some may offer an effective alternative, it seems that the jury is still out on quality, and with so many new models, it will be interesting to see whichwill still bearound in 10 years’ time.

 

5. There’s a move towards transparency and openness
I heard concerns that peer review is closed and cases of bias or misconduct are not exposed. Despite this, we are seeing a move towards openness and transparency with journals publishing reviewer and editor comments alongside papers.

 

One audience member raised an important point: “We still do not know how well the new models for peer review work. But we are scientists, so try it out! Engage in experiments!”

 

For more on peer review read our VoYS guide Peer review: the nuts and bolts written by early career researchers, for early career researchers.

    Richard Threlfall
Richard Threlfall
Editor, Asian Journal of Organic Chemistry, Wiley
Networking
Source: designaart / Thinkstock

Networking is a word that smacks of “management talk” and fills most people with trepidation. However, anyone who has spent any significant time in science will admit, at least in private, that networking is as powerful a tool for career development in science as it is in any other walk of life. This admission may be a little embarrassing for a profession that focuses most of its training on objectivity, but the sooner in your career that you realize how useful a network can be and start building one, the better.

Do-it-Yourself

No one is going to network for you so the onus is on you to go to lots of conferences, give talks, present posters, take part in discussions, and use every opportunity you have to talk to people. It takes courage to walk up to strangers and strike up a conversation when you’re not used to doing it, but if you want to begin making contacts, this is exactly what you’ll have to do.

We all know someone who seems like they can start a conversation with anyone, but the reality is that even for these people there are easy conversations, awkward conversations, and conversations that they wish they’d never started in the first place. This means that you shouldn’t be put off if the first few times you try talking to people, there are some awkward silences or the conversation doesn’t quite flow; this is normal. The truth is that a lot of people will actually be grateful to have someone to talk to in a conference coffee break because, if we’re honest with ourselves, no one wants to look as if they’re alone. Therefore, you might find you’re surprised at how easy it is to get a conversation going after the initial icebreaker.

The Personal Touch

After a while you’ll begin to feel more comfortable with bringing up the topics that people respond to well. One of the easiest ways to get people talking initially it is to ask them questions about their presentations or their work, because people love to talk about themselves! It’s also important not to think that just because you’re a student or a postdoc, Professor I. M. Famous won’t want to talk to you. Most of the time the opposite is true and professors love to talk to enthusiastic young scientists.

One useful method at conferences is to save your questions about a lecture until you can find the speaker in the next coffee break. Then you can introduce yourself and ask your question one-on-one. Introducing yourself is the key step that doesn’t happen in a lecture hall full of people, and this one-to-one contact is effective because it’s personal.  You can also follow up with someone by email after a conference, particularly if you think of something relevant afterwards, such as a link to an internet site, or if you’ve promised to send them something, such as data. Honoring any commitments you make is the key to building trust and to building your own reputation as a reliable person. LinkedIn is a useful site for this type of post-meeting follow-up. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get a reply because most people get a ton of email every day and simply don’t have time. Nevertheless, even in the absence of a reply you can be certain that with most people these small gestures don’t go unnoticed.

All for one

Another important thing to do at conferences is to meet your collaborators. In the email age, it’s easy to hide behind your computer screen instead of meeting someone face-to-face. However, a quick discussion about a joint project can make a huge difference to a collaboration, not least because the connection between co-workers will then be more personal, and you’ll begin to feel like you’re all in it together. Having met a collaborator in person is also useful for things like asking for professional references, which brings me to my next point.

On the Job Trail

If you know someone you’d like to work for is attending the same conference as you, then it is to your advantage to meet him/her in person. Even if you’ve already sent a job application through a website, you should consider giving a hard copy to your potential boss in person. This has several advantages, including the opportunity to introduce yourself and the peace of mind that your application has reached the most important person without being screened out by an HR department. It’s also a clever way to buy your application more time to be read because you’ve separated it out from the crowd right when your prospective boss may have more spare time than usual. Just think of how much a long flight home might influence the probability of your application being one of the few that gets read in detail.

Soft Skills with Hard Science

The key to good networking is to be open, friendly, show a genuine interest in the other person, and to avoid being overbearing. Another important point is that you could be the best scientist-networker in the world, but if you don’t have any of your own good science to go with it, you’ll only be known as the person who doesn’t do any good work! Networking alone will not get you to the top.

As you progress through your career, hopefully your good work will become synonymous with your name and eventually you’ll be the person that everyone is eager to talk to. When you do get there, you’d be wise to remember the kind folks who gave you your start on the career ladder and try to do the same for someone else. But before you get there, try to step outside of your comfort zone, start a conversation with a stranger, and you’ll be surprised how far showing a little bit of humanity can get you in the sciences.

    Anne-Marie Green
Anne-Marie Green
Communication Manager, Wiley
HIFA 2015Neil Pakenham-Walsh, co-founder and coordinator for HIFA.org (Healthcare Information For All), spoke with us recently about why he started the organization and why it's so important.

 

Q. What is HIFA2015 and what is your role?
A.
HIFA2015 stands for Healthcare Information For All by 2015. It is a global campaign launched in 2006 whose aim is to ensure that every person and every health worker worldwide would have access to the basic healthcare information that they need to protect their own health and the health of others, by 2015. The date 2015 proved to be hugely over-optimistic as efforts to improve the availability and use of healthcare information are a marathon rather than a sprint,. Thus, we are now becoming HIFA (HIFA.org) in recognition that this is a progressive process that may never be completed.

 

Neil Pakenham-Walsh
Source: Neil Pakenham-Walsh
I am a co-founder and the coordinator of HIFA, and jointly administer four other related forums: CHILD2015, HIFA-Portuguese, HIFA-EVIPNet-French and HIFA-Zambia. Together we count more than 12,000 members on five discussion forums in 3 languages. I support one part-time staff, the HIFA Steering Group, several HIFA working groups (HIFA volunteers working on specific projects), and 150 volunteers around the world, of whom 100 are HIFA Country Representatives. HIFA is funded by small and medium donations from more than 30 health and development organizations and publishers worldwide, and its current turnover is about 40,000 pounds sterling. Our main funder is the British Medical Association.

 

Q. How did it come about – what problems are you trying to solve?
A. Every day, tens of thousands of children, women and men die needlessly for want of simple, low-cost interventions – interventions that are often already locally available. A major contributing factor is that the parent, family caregiver or health worker does not have access to the information and knowledge they need, when they need it, to make appropriate decisions and save lives.

 

For example. A thousand children die needlessly from diarrhea every day in India alone, due to basic errors in care from parents and health workers. A literature review by us, published in 2009, concluded that there is “a gross lack of knowledge about the basics of how to diagnose and manage common diseases, going right across the health workforce and often associated with suboptimal, ineffective and dangerous health care practices.” (Pakenham-Walsh & Bukachi, 2009).

 

Importantly, this situation is not the fault of healthcare providers. Healthcare providers can only function effectively if their basic needs are met, including their need for reliable, actionable, appropriate healthcare information.

 

As a medical student in the early 80s, I visited my mother who was at that time teaching English in Djelfa, a town on the edge of the Sahara in Algeria. I spent a day with doctors in the emergency room of Djelfa Hospital, and I was moved by the huge difference between the care and facilities (including information) there as compared to St Georges Hospital, London, where I was a student.

 

Later I went to Peru as medical officer for a large archaeology project about 20km from Macchu Pichu, where I was also responsible for the primary care of the local population. I felt truly out of my depth and professionally isolated. My current career, after a few more years as a hospital doctor in the NHS and as a medical editor at the Wellcome Trust and WHO, now links back to those times in Algeria and Peru. For me, the frontline health workers (and indeed the citizens) who are promoting health and caring for the sick in low-resource settings are the unsung heroes. My work is all about trying to empower citizens and health workers to deliver safe, effective care and thereby reduce avoidable death and suffering, of which there is still so much in the world.

 

As the late James Grant, former director of UNICEF, said back in 1993, “The single biggest piece of unfinished business' of the 20th century is to extend the basic benefits of modern science and medicine ... The most urgent task before us is to get medical and health knowledge to those most in need of that knowledge. Of the approximately 50 million people who were dying each year in the late 1980s, fully two thirds could have been saved through the application of that knowledge."

 

Q. What tools and techniques does HIFA use to inform caregivers and health workers? What has been most successful and why?
A.
The role of HIFA is not to educate caregivers and health workers per se (although some learning takes place incidentally), but to bring providers and users of healthcare information together in large, multidisciplinary forums, so that we can exchange experience to answer three fundamental questions:

 

  1. What are the healthcare information and learning needs of different groups of healthcare providers in different settings?
  2. What are the barriers and drivers to meeting those needs?
  3. What must be done - and how - to improve the availability and use of relevant, reliable and actionable healthcare information?

 

We are also building a unique repository of knowledge relevant to the above three questions. HIFA Voices is a database that brings together the key points expressed in HIFA discussions, together with health information and libraries literature pertaining to low- and middle-income countries. We are currently seeking funding for HIFA Voices. To date, The Lancet and Elsevier have pledged support, as well as mPowering Frontline Health Workers and Intel Corporation.

 

Q. There are striking examples on the HIFA website of the health consequences due to insufficient knowledge in some developing nations. Is this exclusively a developing world problem?
A.
The problem is more profound in low-income countries than in middle- and high-income countries, but lack of the ability to access healthcare information is indeed a global problem. For example, any low- resource setting in any country is likely to include lack of access to healthcare information (for example, a remote rural setting – indeed a whole journal is dedicated to “Rural and Remote Health”).

 

Furthermore, most information on the internet is in English and the majority of the world’s population does not speak English. Language is a real barrier to many, many people.

 

Also, there are hundreds of thousands of health websites and many of these contain misleading or incorrect information.

 

It is important to note that we are about to miss a huge opportunity regarding the health internet, as the World Health Organization calls it. The “.health” top-level domain (TLD) is very likely to be sold this year to a commercial entity without adequate public health safeguards. We and others, including WHO, have called for a moratorium, but the auction is now scheduled for September this year.

 

Q. Are there ways in which the academic research community can support HIFA?
A.
Yes, there are several ways that academics and their institutions can help accelerate progress towards the HIFA Vision. For example:
First, the realization of the HIFA vision is fundamentally dependent on high-quality, relevant research across the biomedical and social sciences. Cumulative synthesis of research (systematic reviews) is especially important but often overlooked. Implementation research (the scientific study of methods to promote the uptake of research findings) is of course especially relevant to HIFA. Also, library and information science research is critical, to understand better the global healthcare knowledge system and the drivers and barriers within the system in relation to the production, availing and use of appropriate, reliable healthcare knowledge.

 

Second, more specifically, HIFA forums include large numbers of individual academics doing research and supporting students in all the research areas described above. Academics take a very active role in the HIFA forums. Many academics are among the 100-plus HIFA Country Representatives, promoting HIFA within their own countries.

 

Third, many academic institutions have chosen to support the HIFA Vision, and are listed among our 200 HIFA Supporting Organizations. A few of these have provided financial contributions to HIFA.

 

Q. What do you see as the future for the availability of reliable healthcare information?
A.
The two key issues are access and content. Thanks to the rapid spread of internet access and mobile phones, the barriers to access are rapidly being taken down and more and more people have access to more information. Over the coming years, we shall need to give much more attention on how we can strengthen the production and sharing of reliable, appropriate, actionable content, in the right language and format, for citizens and health workers. And we shall need better tools to enable people to find it.

    Anne-Marie Green
Anne-Marie Green
Communication Manager, Wiley

Following on from the announcement on Tuesday that Wiley has adopted Altmetric for all its journals, we thought we'd round out the week with a video interview with founder Euan Adie to find out how it all began. This video is courtesy of Digital Science.

 

 

    Anne-Marie Green
Anne-Marie Green
Communication Manager, Wiley

Yesterday we announced the roll out of Altmetric across all Wiley journals. Today we bring you an interview with Amy Brand, VP at Digital Science, the division of Macmillan which produces Altmetric.

 

Amy Brand
Source: Amy Brand

Q. What is Digital Science and what is your role there?
A.
Digital Science is a relatively young division of Macmillan Science and Education that invests in and incubates academic start-ups. More specifically, we support entrepreneurs who are developing software to accelerate scientific research, either by facilitating aspects of the research cycle directly or by facilitating the administration of the research process.

I wear two hats at Digital Science. One is as VP North America, overseeing our North American operations and office, which is located in Cambridge, MA. The other is as VP Academic and Research Relations, cultivating relationships with North American universities and serving as a domain expert on their research, administrative, and policy needs.

Q. How did your previous experience prepare you for this role?
A. I’ve had a long and varied career immersed in scientific and scholarly communications: as an MIT-trained researcher, executive editor at The MIT Press, Director of Business and Product Development at CrossRef, manager of Harvard’s Office for Scholarly Communication and then Assistant Provost, founding member of ORCID’s board of directors. So I’ve spent my whole professional life in the scholarly communications field, with deep dives as a research scientist, publisher, business and product development lead, and university administrator. The move to Digital Science seems quite natural to me, and I feel I bring a rather unusual well-roundedness to the job, with true insight into the perspectives of all stakeholders in the research enterprise. I also bring an extensive web of stakeholder connections that are very valuable in my new position.

Q. What products has Digital Science developed for researchers and what problems are they looking to solve?
A.
We currently have seven start-ups in the Digital Science portfolio, offering a range of technologies.

In the science metrics space:
Symplectic Elements is a research management system for research administrators, enabling them to track their research activities and outputs.

  • Altmetric tracks a wide array of impact indicators and analyzes online activity around scholarly publications.
  • ÜberResearch provides grants analytics and business intelligence for funding agencies.

 

In the knowledge discovery space:

  • ReadCube offers enhanced PDF reading and navigation, along with document sharing and management capabilities.
  • In the research tools space:
    LabGuru is a modular web-based laboratory management system that can track all components of the laboratory research process.
  • figshare is a cloud-based repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in citable, shareable and discoverable form
  • BioRaft support environmental health and safety offices in research enterprises by streamlining and improving their health and safety compliance processes.

 

Q. You have a PhD in Cognitive Science. What is one technology you wish had been available to you as a researcher?
A.
I completed my PhD about 25 years ago, and I recall lots of time spent in the MIT Libraries locating the print books and journals I needed for my research, as well as time spent traveling to other university libraries to access their dissertation collections. So, at that point in time it would have been miraculous just to have all of these materials readily available online, as they are today.

 

Q. What are the major benefits of Altmetric? Do you feel that altmetrics are going to break down the strength of the impact factor and/or have they already?
A.
Altmetric is extremely useful to publishers and institutions because it aggregates the full range of article-level attention and impact indicators into one interface. Altmetric captures hundreds of thousands of tweets, blog posts, news stories and other content that mention scholarly articles each week, and its scoring visualization allows for quick quantitative and comparative analyses. From a researcher perspective, it’s satisfying to be able to easily see who is discussing your work and what they are saying.

 

Impact factor and article level metrics are used very differently. Impact factor is a proxy for journal quality, and in my experience isn’t directly referenced in the academic evaluation process, mainly because experts already know which journals in their fields are better than others. On the other hand, article-level indicators like citation counts provide direct information about how influential a researcher’s work is. Supplementing that kind of citation-based measure with other indicators of online attention provides a more complete picture of influence, especially with the ability to factor in who is paying attention and what they are saying.

 

Q. How is Readcube improving the reader experience? What are its main benefits?
A.
ReadCube provides a very innovative reading technology, and it’s available through desktop, mobile and web apps. It really changes the way readers interact with scholarly literature. Whether they are making comments on an article with annotation tools, exploring the relationships between what they’re reading and other articles with interactive inline references, interrogating the publication histories of authors with a single click, or reviewing contextual article information – which, by the way, can include supplementary information and altmetrics -- they will have far more at their disposal with ReadCube than they ever had with the PDF. Also, ReadCube's reference manager and citation tools offer a complete solution for discovery, reading, organization, and citing.

 

Q. What’s next for Digital Science?
A.
Digital Science is entering a very exciting period as several of our portfolios have matured and are now poised for a serious push into the global publisher and institutional markets. We’ve also just announced the launch of our Digital Research Reports, a new quarterly series of publications about research data and analytical possibilities in a practical, applied context.

 

Some great new partnerships and investments will be announced in coming months, so stay tuned! You can keep up-to-date with Digital Science's news via our social media accounts.

 

Thanks Amy.

How to become a master presenter

Posted Jul 3, 2014
    David Zielinski
David Zielinski
Editor, PresentationXpert

What’s the difference between mediocrity and mastery in the art of presenting? It’s a question I fear fewer and fewer people take the time to consider.  Most seem to settle for “just getting by” in their in-person or web-based presentations, relieved that the ordeal is over and claiming victory in the fact that they didn't embarrass themselves during the speaking process.

 

applauding audience
Source: Hxdbzxy / Thinkstock

The good news is that bridging the gap between average and exemplary presentation skills isn’t as daunting as you might think. Becoming a master presenter doesn’t mean you have to transform yourself into a Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, or the most clicked-upon TED speaker. It does demand, however, that you commit to continuous improvement and follow some best practices that separate pretenders from contenders in the presentations arena.

Here are some traits that people with top-notch presentation skills – trainers, HR leaders, salespeople, marketers and middle managers among them -- regularly demonstrate:

They develop presentation messages before they create their slides.

Most people start the presentation development process by launching PowerPoint and creating slides. However, the software’s best use is as an outline, not a robust script creator. Master presenters start the process with scribbles, mind maps, or post-it notes on walls to create message themes, identify examples, unearth personal stories, organize relevant data, and more. Only after that creative heavy-lifting is done do they move to PowerPoint to start building supporting visuals. As noted presentation skills consultant Angela DeFinis said, starting presentation development by creating slides “is like building a house with a napkin drawing instead of a blueprint.”

They think deeply about how audiences might receive their messages.

Not only do they ponder what approaches, personal stories, or data might best resonate with particular audiences, master presenters also consider what’s likely to be thrown back in their faces. Who might feel threatened by a message of change? What will be the most hardened objections?  How might those from different  backgrounds interpret my message?

They never settle for complicated graphics or text-heavy slides.

Too often presenters create confusion by using charts, bar graphs, or pie charts. Master presenters take the extra step to simplify complex graphics, and only display the real messages or trends behind their numbers. You won’t find them pasting entire Excel spreadsheets on a slide, for example, when they know creating summary tables will be easier for audiences to process.

People feel if they don’t show a lot of numbers or data on slides, the audience won’t think they put in the work to conduct the analysis. Top presenters, on the other hand, understand that audiences’ eyes glaze over when they see slides full of numbers. They figure out what those numbers mean to the audience and then reduce twenty metrics to the five that decision-makers in the audience really need to know.

Ditto, for using too much text on slides; the best seek to distill, distill, distill, reducing six- or seven-word bullet points to four or five words, always thinking about where images might effectively replace text and creating pithy slide titles that are benefits-driven.

They understand that slides and handouts should be separated at birth.

Master presenters know the folly of trying to create slides that serve both as visuals and leave-behind handouts. They understand that projected content and printed content are two different animals.

Slides are designed to be incomplete – to act as a prompt for your own words – and handouts necessarily need more detail, verbiage and resource-related information. Rick Altman, host of the annual Presentation Summit for presentation professionals, suggests taking this litmus test, “How are your visuals? Would they make really lousy printouts? Yes? Great, you’re all set to go!”

They use the power of contrast in presentations.

Holding audience attention for even 30-minute presentations is more challenging than ever today. Master presenters know that human beings are wired to process and pay attention to contrast in presentations – contrast in the look or content of their slides, in their delivery approaches and in the ebb-and-flow between emotional and rational appeals.

They understand that for audiences to stay engaged and remember content, presenters must deviate from patterns in a significant and regular way. Presentation skill coach Olivia Mitchell talks about the importance of hitting the audience “reset button” every 10 minutes with change-of-pace techniques to give people a chance to refocus.

They rehearse even for run-of-the-mill presentations.

Most presenters have the good sense to rehearse thoroughly for high-visibility presentations, but the pros also know the importance of rehearsing for lower-stakes presentations like project updates or financial reports. They also grasp the difference between practice and rehearsal. Rehearsal means being up on your feet, using the same gestures, eye contact, pacing and interaction with PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi that you will in your actual presentation. Rehearsal allows you to get your mind off your content and onto connecting with your audience.

Practice, on the other hand – sitting on an airplane or in your office reviewing scripts or slides – is helpful, but it’s not rehearsal.

Commit yourself to these presentation best practices and you’ll soon find yourself straining to remember the days when “just getting by” as a presenter felt perfectly acceptable.

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