Writing is an important skill for scientists, but too often is learnt by trial and error. These workshops, held over five weekly sessions, are giving our young researchers a step-by-step introduction to academic writing and the chance to develop their own paper from data to draft to publication.
Careers and Strategy Manager Dr Amanda Philp said, as a result of the workshops, last year’s participants all had a paper published, or in press. She and Deputy Director Prof Murray Norris started the workshops three years ago to give the Institute’s early career researchers the skills they need to write better research papers for academic journals.
Prof Norris has over 30 years’ experience in academic writing in childhood cancer research. He has authored over 160 peer-reviewed papers in journals like New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Nature Reviews Cancer, Blood, and Cancer Research and is also a regular reviewer of papers for journals. His mentoring skills, combined with talks and group exercises critiquing draft papers are key to the program.
Norris says that science papers have a story to tell – showing how the current research builds on previous research by others and logically presenting the new findings.
“Getting the narrative right is important. An orderly, well-structured paper helps other researchers in the field understand the significance of the research and guides future research” he said.
The practical sessions include which journal to target, how to create clear graphs and figures, what goes in the discussion vs the results section and even how to get started – because writer’s block happens to scientists too.
Read more about career development at Children’s Cancer Institute.