This past week Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen from the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) presented several workshops on academic writing and scientific publishing to BU’s partners in Nepal. He presented at Nepal’s oldest and largest university Tribhuvan University (TU) on Wednesday. The Faculty of Education had made the effort to produce a personalised banner for Edwin. Prof. Bhimsen Devkota, who invited him to run this workshop, was his PhD student many years ago at the University of Aberdeen
The next day he visited Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) which has a Memorandum of Agreement with BU, which was signed by Prof. Tee in early 2018 (see BU Research Blog). At MMIHS the audience that day consisted mostly of Master of Public Health students. Edwin recently celebrated his ten-years of being Visiting Professor at MMIHS.
Yesterday he had the honour of running a workshop at BNMT (Birat Nepal Medical Trust), affiliated with the Britain Nepal Medical Trust which started working in Nepal more than fifty years ago in 1967. The audience at BNMT was smaller and this allowed for loads of fruitful discussions.
These workshops are part of BU capacity building approach for health workers, development workers, health students and researchers in Nepal. Writing with colleagues in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, and various UK universities, including with Visiting Faculty based at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and University of Exeter Medical School (UEMS) as well as Visiting Faculty at NHS Poole Foundation Hospital and Hamad General Hospital (Qatar) the BU team as published 12 papers on aspects of academic writing and/or publishing [1-12].
- van Teijlingen, E, Hundley, V. (2002) Getting your paper to the right journal: a case study of an academic paper, J Advanced Nurs 37(6): 506-11.
- Pitchforth, E, Porter M, Teijlingen van E, Keenan Forrest, K. (2005) Writing up & presenting qualitative research in family planning & reproductive health care, J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 31(2): 132-135.
- van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada, PP, Rizyal A (2012) Submitting a paper to an academic peer-reviewed journal, where to start? (Guest Editorial) Health Renaissance 10(1): 1-4.
- van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada. PP, Simkhada, B, Ireland J. (2012) The long & winding road to publication, Nepal J Epidemiol 2(4): 213-215 http://nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/7093/6388
- Hundley, V, van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada, P (2013) Academic authorship: who, why and in what order? Health Renaissance 11(2):98-101 www.healthrenaissance.org.np/uploads/Download/vol-11-2/Page_99_101_Editorial.pdf
- Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen E., Hundley, V., Simkhada, BD. (2013) Writing an Abstract for a Scientific Conference, Kathmandu Univ Med J 11(3): 262-65. http://www.kumj.com.np/issue/43/262-265.pdf
- Simkhada P, van Teijlingen E, Hundley V. (2013) Writing an academic paper for publication, Health Renaissance 11(1):1-5. www.healthrenaissance.org.np/uploads/Pp_1_5_Guest_Editorial.pdf
- van Teijlingen, E., Ireland, J., Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., Sathian, B. (2014) Finding the right title for your article: Advice for academic authors, Nepal J Epidemiol 4(1): 344-347.
- van Teijlingen E., Hundley, V., Bick, D. (2014) Who should be an author on your academic paper? Midwifery 30: 385-386.
- Hall, J., Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) The journal editor: friend or foe? Women & Birth 28(2): e26-e29.
- Sathian, B., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Roy, B, Banerjee, I. (2016) Grant writing for innovative medical research: Time to rethink. Med Sci 4(3):332-33.
- Pradhan, AK, van Teijlingen, ER. (2017) Predatory publishing: a great concern for authors, Med Sci 5(4): 43.
Once you have submitted you manuscript to a scientific journal, the editor has a (quick) look at it and sends it out for review. As I remind students and colleagues in training sessions on academic writing and publishing, the editor and the peer reviewers are academics like me and my colleagues who do both the editing and the reviewing, for free and over and above the day job. Being an editor and a reviewer are part of being any academic’s so-called scholarly activity. We are expected to do this as part of the wider scientific community for the benefit of our academic discipline(s).
When an academic receives an invitation to peer review, the journal will send you a copy of the paper’s abstract. On reading this abstract you then decide whether you wish to do the review. If the paper sounds interesting and it is in your field and you have the time you may volunteer to conduct a review. Once you have agreed you will get the full paper (or more likely you are send a link to the publisher’s website). The requirements of the review report varies between disciplines and often between journals. Some follow an informal structure, but others have a more formal approach, sometimes with scoring systems for sections of the paper.
Unfortunately, academics across the globe are experiencing an ‘epidemic’ of invitations to review for scientific journals. And I am not talking about so-called predatory publishers, i.e. journals and publishers that are only in it for the monetary gain, no I am talking about legitimate journals sending out invitations to review for them. Especially scholars with a few decent publications receive several emails a week from often high quality scientific journals. The photo of my email inbox shows three invitations in a row I received in the space of two hours last week (10th July), two are even from different Associate Editors for the same journal!
I would like to stress that doing peer reviews is very important. It is the backbone of academic publishing. Reviewing is part of our overall scholarly responsibility so we all do it, although some more than others. We all have are favourite journals to review for, perhaps because the journal is high quality, or we like to publish in it ourselves, because we know the editor, or our reviewing is recognised on websites like KUDOS. I would like to urge colleagues who don’t manage to review at least once a month to step up and agree to review a wee bit more often.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health
A few times a month ResearchGate alerts me that another paper has reached a miles stone of so having been read some many times. Today the ResearchGate message is about 600 reads for our paper ‘Research Methods Coverage in Medical and Health Science Curricula in Nepal’.  This paper was a report on research methods teaching in health-related Higher Education (HE) courses in the health and medical field in Nepal. This paper originates from a DelPHE (Round 4), British Council award. Our study ‘Partnership on Improving Access to Research Literature for HE Institutions in Nepal’ (PARI Initiative) was a collaboration between the oldest university in Nepal, namely Tribhuvan University and two UK university of which BU was one. A further paper from the PARI Initiative was published a year later.  The lead author of both papers in BU Visiting Faculty Prof Padam Simkhada, who is Professor of International Public Health at the Public Health Institute at Liverpool John Moores University.
The Nepal Journal of Epidemiology is a full Open Access journal which means anybody across the globe can access it for free. The Nepal Journal of Epidemiology is part of Nepal Journals Online (NepJOL) a service established by INASP in 2007, which provides online publication of Nepali journals.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
- Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Pokharel, T., Devkota, B., Pathak, R.S. (2013) Research Methods Coverage in Medical & Health Science Curricula in Nepal, Nepal Journal Epidemiology 3(3): 253-258. www.nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/9185
- Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Devkota, B., Pathak, R.S., Sathian, B. (2014) Accessing research literature: A mixed-method study of academics in Higher Education Institutions in Nepal, Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 4(4): 405-14. http://www.nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/11375
Dr. Pramod Regmi and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen (both in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences) have been invited to join the scientific committee of the International Conference on Mixed Methods Research [ICMMR-2019]. This year’s ICMMR conference will be held in the School of Behavioural Sciences at the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam (India) on February 22-24, 2019. The two BU academics will run an online panel discussion session on academic publishing under the heading “Meet the editors.” The advantage of such online session is that BU academic don’t have to travel to India saving time and money as well as the environment. This has benefits for their own work-live balance as well as their carbon footprint.
BU focuses its global collaborations on three geographical areas, one of these is the Indian sub-continent. Connect India is BU’s strategic Hub of Practice for the Indian sub-continent, bringing together a community of researchers, educators, practitioners and students at Bournemouth University to collaborate with colleagues in India and Nepal.
This week we had this enviable record of two academic papers on health topics being rejected the day after submission. The first paper was submitted on Monday to Issues in Mental Health Nursing. Our paper reported the Content Analysis of a review of the nursing curricula on mental health and maternity care issues in Nepal. The journal editor emailed us the next day to inform us that the topic was interesting, but not relevant enough to the journal’s readers.
The second paper submitted by a different configuration of staff was submitted last Friday to the Journal of Youth & Adolescence. The second paper reported a qualitative study on students views on abortion in the south of England. This journal’s rapid reply came the next day (yesterday) stating that:
Unfortunately, the editors have completed an internal review of your study and have deemed your manuscript inappropriate for our journal. Although your manuscript has important strengths, the journal has moved away from supporting qualitative work (unless it would be part of a journal special issue). Please rest assured that our decision has nothing to do with the quality of your study or findings.
On both occasion we had discussed potential journals and we thought we had targeted appropriate journals for the respective manuscripts. Moreover, in both manuscripts we managed to cite at least one paper published in the journal to which we had submitted it. The general message to my colleagues is that it does not matter how many papers you have written and submitted, you will: (1) occasionally opt for the wrong journal; (2) continue to face regular rejection by journal editors; and (3) have an opportunity to submit to another journal.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health
Within the Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework (RKEDF), there are a number of events in the coming months to support your academic publishing activities.
The flagship three-day Writing Academy retreats will commence on 11th April and 27th June. To find out more, please see the information page. Please note that you will need faculty to support to attend and cannot book onto these events without this recommendation.
If you have specific needs or wish to ‘dip your toe in the water’, there are shorter sessions available:
Find out more about what is on offer to support your academic publishing and your wider research development.