Tagged / academic writing

Proofreading your article accepted for publication

It is always a pleasure to see your own paper in print.  If all is properly organised at the publisher, the first time you see you paper as it will look in its final version when you receive the proof copy.  It is the authors’ task to proofread this final copy and pick up any mistakes you may have made or the journal has made putting your word file into the journal’s layout.  More and more journals now ask you to do the proofreading and editing online.  The first message here is that proofreading is exact business and most certainly time consuming.  Moreover, feeding back mistakes you may find in the proofs is not without its trials and tribulations.

Yesterday we received the proofs for a paper accepted by BMC Health Research Policy & Systems [1]. The BMC is part of the publisher Springer , and it uses an online proof system eProofing to which the authors get temporary access, to read and correct text.  This system looks good online, but beware the online version you get to edit does not look the same as the version that will appear in print.  The draft print version generated by eProofing has line numbers which don’t appear online when you are editing the proofs.  So we had to write on the online system separately that we found a set of quotes glued together, as the system does not allow authors to change the lay-out (for obvious reasons). In this case,  we had to write details like: “There needs to be a space after first quote line 421.”  What might look okay in the eProofing version didn’t do so  in the print version, where it was it is wrong.  This is illustrated in the example picture below.

 

Last month we battled with the proofs of another BU paper forthcoming in the journal Women and Birth [2], which is part of Elsevier.  Again, it has an online system for proofs.  This system does not allow the authors to correct mistakes in in the line spacing.  So we ended up writing to journal manager, not the editor, things like: “There is a very big gap between the end of section 3.7. and Overview of findings section – please could the text be rearranged to get rid of this big gap.”  We also asked for a summary section to be kept on one page, not having an orphan two words on the next page, but that appeared to be too difficult a request.  We think we a little flexibility, i.e. a human intervention the lay-out could have been improved.  See illustration below with text as it appears in the current online-first version.

We like to stress our advice to set plenty of time aside to read and edit the proofs, and to send details instructions to the journal manager or editor about what needs changing.  Changes include typos, grammar and style, but also lay-out of text and illustrations, boxes in the text, tables and figures.  “It is also important to check tables and figures during the proof-reading as the formatting can often go astray during the typesetting process” as we highlighted by Sheppard and colleagues [3].  Also double check correct spelling of names of co-authors and the final author order in the proofs.  Many years ago, I received the proof of pages of a midwifery article [4].

I dutifully read and edited  the proof of the actual text, but I never check the short introduction with the authors’ names which an editor had added to the final proofs.  When the paper came out in print to transpired that this editor has changed the author order, i.e. my name was first, probably because I had submitted the paper on behalf of my co-author.  This cause some problems with my co-author, made all the worse since I am married to her.

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health

References:

  1. Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Rushton, S., Subedi, M., Simkhada, P., Balen, J., Nepal Federalisation of Health Team (2023)  Overcoming the challenges facing Nepal’s health system during federalisation: an analysis of health system building blocks. Journal of the Health Research Policy & Systems. (forthcoming).
  2. Arnold, R., Way, S., Mahato, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2023) “I might have cried in the changing room, but I still went to work”. Maternity staff managing roles, responsibilities, and emotions of work and home during COVID-19: an Appreciative InquiryWomen & Birth (online first) 
  3. Sheppard, Z., Hundley, V., Dahal, N.P., Paudyal, P. (2022) Writing a quantitative paper, In: Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Hundley, V. with Shreesh, K. (eds.) Writing and Publishing Academic Work, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books, pp.78-87.
  4. van Teijlingen E., Ireland, J.C. (2014) Community midwives on the go. Midwives 1: 54-55.

Peer review picking up weaknesses in a scientific paper

Peer review is the the key pillar of academic publishing.  Peer reviewers will read the submitted paper and assess its knowledge contribution, the appropriateness of the research question, the ethical considerations, the quality of the research methods used and the appropriateness of the discussion, conclusion, and recommendations in the manuscript. [1]  It is worth bearing in mind that most peer reviewers are unpaid volunteers, academics like us who review for journals over and above the day job.[2]  For the authors peer reviewers can give excellent feedback.  Harvey and colleagues remind their readers that peer reviewers reading your manuscript with a fresh pair of eyes, can lead to them raising great questions and offering useful comments.  In short, reviewers’ reservations and misunderstandings can help you to rephrase and better focus your paper. [3]

However, what the review process does not do is picking up every possible minor mistake and typo in a paper.  I was reminded of this last week when I read a peer-reviewed paper in which the basic demographics table (the characteristics of the study participants) did not add up to 100%.  Luckily, the same authors (who shall remain nameless) published a different paper from the same study in another quality journal, which allowed me to check the numbers.  Interestingly, the second paper in another peer-reviewed journal had the same mistake.   In the end I ended up writing to two different editors pointing out this anomaly.   The editors contacted the authors who have since promised to rectify the mistake.

Something similar has also happened to us.  Occasionally I reread one of our articles in a good journal and wonder about some of the unclear sentences or poorly expressed grammar or style.  Neither the editor nor the peer-reviewers spotted it nor did my co-authors and I noticed these mistakes in the paper proofs.

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH (Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health)

 

 

References:

  1. van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Shanker, S. (2022) Selecting an Appropriate Journal and Submitting your Paper, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 20-31.
  2. van Teijlingen, E., Thapa, D., Marahatta, S.B., Sapkota, J.L., Regmi, P. Sathian, B. (2022) Editors and Reviewers: Roles and Responsibilities, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 32-37.
  3. Harvey, O., Taylor, A., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Struggling to reply to reviewers: Some advice for novice researchers. Health Prospect, 21(2):19-22.

 

British Academy Writing Workshop in Nepal in 2022

Two days ago one of the participants of our British Academy funded Academic Writing Workshops announced on Facebook that the paper, we had helped her put together, had been published in a peer-reviewed journal.  It is satisfying to see the fruits of our labours in print following two sets of three-day workshops in Kathmandu and Pokhara.  The team running the 2022 workshop comprised three Faculty of Health & Social Sciences’ (FHSS) staff: Dr. Shovita Dhakal Adhikari, Dr. Pramod Regmi, and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, and our colleague Dr. Rashmee Rajkarnikar at Nepal’s oldest and largest university (Tribhuvan University) and BU’s Visiting Faculty Dr. Emma Pitchforth, who is Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Fellow in Primary Care at the University of Exeter.  Dr. Shovita Adhikari has since left Bournemouth University to become Senior Lecturer in Criminology & Sociology at London Metropolitan University.

Over the years our team has published a wide range of papers on many aspects of academic writing [1-38].  The authors include: Prof. Vanora Hundley [3-5,8-9,14,16-19,21,23,28-33,36], Dr. Orlanda Harvey [2,22, ], Dr. Pramod Regmi [2,7,13-14,17,22,24-25 ], Dr. Rachel Arnold [20], Dr. Alison Taylor, Dr. Nirmal Aryal [14,24], Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, PhD student Mrs. Sulochana Dhakal-Rai [8] all in FHSS, Prof. Ann Luce in the Media School [5] and Dr. Shanti Shanker in the Department of Psychology [6] as well as several BU Visiting Faculty: Dr. Brijesh Sathian [1,7-8,21,31,34], Dr. Shovita Dhakal Adhiikari [24-25 ], Dr. Preeti Mahato [11,20, ], Prof. Padam Simkhada [3-4,6,8-9,13,16-19,21,23,25-31,34 ], Dr. Emma Pitchforth [11-12,37], Prof. Bhimsen Devkota [12,16 ], Prof. Sujan Marahatta [7], Dr. Bibha Simkhada [9,14,25,27,29] and Ms. Jillian Ireland [8,20,22,27,31].
has build up capacity in academic writing and publishing in Nepal on many occasions and at many different institutions.  This grant allow us to offer a more systematic approach to capacity building in academic writing, and it build a growing number of paper published by FHSS staff on various aspects of academic writing and publishing.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health

References:

  1. Sathian B, van Teijlingen E, Banerjee I, Kabir R. (2022) Guidance to applying for health research grants in the UK. Nepal J Epidemiol 12(4):1231-1234.
  2. Harvey, O., Taylor, A., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Struggling to reply to reviewers: Some advice for novice researchers. Health Prospect, 21(2):19-22.
  3. van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Simkhada, P.P., Wasti, S.P. (2022) Introduction, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 1-4.
  4. Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Swoveet, P. (2022) Writing an Academic Paper, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 6-14.
  5. Hundley, V., Luce, A., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Collaborative Writing for Publication, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 15-19.
  6. van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Shanker, S. (2022) Selecting an Appropriate Journal and Submitting your Paper, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 20-31.
  7. van Teijlingen, E., Thapa, D., Marahatta, S.B., Sapkota, J.L., Regmi, P. Sathian, B. (2022) Editors and Reviewers: Roles and Responsibilities, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 32-37.
  8. van Teijlingen, E., Ireland, J., Hundley, V, Dhakal Rai, S., Simkhada, P., Sathian, B. (2022) Identifying an appropriate Title, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 39-47.
  9. Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Simkhada, B, Acharya D.R. (2022) Writing an Abstract for a Scientific Conference, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 48-56.
  10. Subedi, M., van Teijlingen, E., Baniya J., Sijapati, B. (2022) Writing the Introduction and Background, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 57-67.
  11. van Teijlingen, E., Pitchforth, E., Keenan Forrest, K., Mahato, P. (2022) Writing a Qualitative Paper, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 88-97.
  12. Wasti, S.P, Devkota, B., Bhatta, D.N., Pitchforth, E., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Writing the Introduction and Background, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 112-120.
  13. Regmi, P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P. (2022) Writing up the Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 121-129
  14. Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., Simkhada, B., Subedi, M., van Teijlingen, E., Wasti, S.P., Hundley, V, Khatri, R. (2022) Being Ethical in Writing and Publishing, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 153-161.
  15. van Teijlingen, E., Venter, K. (2022) Writing a Book Review, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 162-167.
  16. Devkota, B., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V, Wasti, S.P. (2022) Writing a Research Proposal, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 168-175.
  17. Wasti, S.P. Regmi, P.R., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2022) Writing a PhD Proposal, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 176-183.
  18. Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Converting your Master’s or Doctoral Thesis into an Academic Paper for Publication, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 184-189.
  19. van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., Acharya, J., Silwal, R.C., Wasti, S.P. (2022) Academic Writing: Final Thoughts, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 201-20
  20. Arnold, R., Ireland, J., Mahato, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Writing and publishing a reflective paper: Three case studiesWelhams Acad J 1(1): 4-11.
  21. van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V, Sathian, B., Simkhada, P., Robinson, J., Banerjee, I. (2022) The Art of the Editorial Nepal J Epidemiol12(1): 1135–38.
  22. Harvey, O., van Teijlingen, A., Regmi, P.R., Ireland, J., Rijal, A., van Teijlingen, E.R. (2022) Co-authors, colleagues, and contributors: Complexities in collaboration and sharing lessons on academic writing Health Prospect 21(1):1-3.
  23. Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Hundley, V. with Shreesh, K. (2022) Writing and Publishing Academic Work, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books
  24. van Teijlingen, E.R., Dhakal Adhikari, S., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, A., Aryal, N., Panday, S. (2021). Publishing, identifiers & metrics: Playing the numbers game. Health Prospect20(1). https://doi.org/10.3126/hprospect.v20i1.37391
  25. Adhikari, S. D., van Teijlingen, E. R., Regmi, P. R., Mahato, P., Simkhada, B., & Simkhada, P. P. (2020). The Presentation of Academic Self in The Digital Age: The Role of Electronic Databases. Int J Soc Sci Management7(1), 38-41. https://doi.org/10.3126/ijssm.v7i1.27405
  26. 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.
  27. van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada. PP, Simkhada, B, Ireland J. (2012) The long & winding road to publication, Nepal Epidemiol 2(4): 213-215 http://nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/7093/6388
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. van Teijlingen, E., Ireland, J., Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., Sathian, B. (2014) Finding the right title for your article: Advice for academic authors, Nepal Epidemiol 4(1): 344-347.
  32. van Teijlingen E., Hundley, V., Bick, D. (2014) Who should be an author on your academic paper? Midwifery 30: 385-386.
  33. Hall, J., Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) The journal editor: friend or foe? Women & Birth 28(2): e26-e29.
  34. 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.
  35. Pradhan, AK, van Teijlingen, ER. (2017) Predatory publishing: a great concern for authors, Med Sci 5(4): 43.
  36. 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.
  37. Pitchforth, E, Porter M, Teijlingen van E, Keenan Forrest, K. (2005) Writing up & presenting qualitative research in family planning & reproductive health care, Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 31(2): 132-135.
  38. van Teijlingen, E (2004), Why I can’t get any academic writing done, Medical Sociol News 30(3): 62-63. britsoc.co.uk/media/26334/MSN_Nov_2004.pdf

New BU PhD education paper

This week the editor of the journal Journal of Education & Research informed us that our paper ‘Reflections on variations in PhD viva regulations: “And the options are….”’ has been accepted for publication [1].  This paper grew out of a discussion between the six authors about the apparent differences between the outcomes of the PhD viva at different universities.  We have all acted as internal or external examiners for a PhD viva and had noted inconsistencies between universities, either in the regulations or in the interpretation of their PhD regulations.  The authors are based at three different universities, on two different continents and, between them, have examined PhD theses submitted to universities based in at least ten different countries.  Three authors are based in BU’s Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (Prof. Vanora Hundley, Dr. Pramod Regmi & Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen), two authors are based in the School of Human & Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield (Prof. Padam Simkhada & Dr. Bibha Simkhada and both are Visiting Faculty at BU), and one author is based in the Institute for Global Health in the School of Public Health & Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA (Prof. Krishna C. Poudel).

This paper outlines the range of outcomes of a PhD examination.  It also includes four short case studies, each reflecting on a particular aspect /differences we experienced as examinees or as examiners. The authors aim to alert PhD candidates and examiners to study the examination rules set by the awarding university, as the details of the PhD examination outcome, and hence the options available to both examiners and the students, may differ more than one might expect.  This is the latest CMMPH education publication around aspects of the PhD [2-5].

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

References:

  1. van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, B., Regmi, P., Simkhada, P., Hundley, V., Poudel, K.C. (2022) Reflections on variations in PhD viva regulations: “And the options are….”, Journal of Education and Research (accepted).
  2. Way, S, Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E, Walton, G., Westwood, G. (2016) Dr Know. Midwives 19: 66-7.
  3. Wasti, S.P. Regmi, P.R., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2022) Writing a PhD Proposal, In: Wasti, S.P., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P.P., Hundely, V. & Shreeh, K. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 176-183.
  4. Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Converting your Master’s or Doctoral Thesis into an Academic Paper for Publication, In: Wasti, S.P., et al. (Eds.) Academic Writing and Publishing in Health & Social Sciences, Kathmandu, Nepal: Himal Books: 184-189.
  5. Regmi, P., Poobalan, A., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2021) PhD supervision in Public Health, Health Prospect: Journal of Public Health 20(1):1-4. https://www.nepjol.info/index.php/HPROSPECT/article/view/32735/28111

Pokhara workshop on academic writing 2022

This week from Sunday till Tuesday (21-23 August) Hotel Mount Kailash Resort hosts a three-day writing and publishing workshop for academics and researchers.  The workshop is led by Dr. Shovita Dhakal Adhikari, Dr. Pramod Regmi and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen all three from Bournemouth University in the south of England, Dr. Emma Pitchforth from the University of Exeter in the west of England, and Dr. Rashmee Rajkarnikar from the Central Department of Economics at Tribhuvan University.  Shovita highlighted: “As sociologist and a female researcher I think it is very important to address gender issues in all part of society, including academic writing and publishing.”

This workshop targeting young academics in and around Pokhara and it is funded by The British Academy.  The project builds research capacity of early career researchers researching gender in Nepal-based higher education institutions by improving their chances of getting published in international journals in English.   In Nepal the workshop is further supported by Social Science Baha and Green Tara Nepal.  The workshop centres around the 23 chapters of the textbook ‘Academic Writing and Publishing in Health and Social Sciences’ was published this year by Social Science Baha and Himal Books in Kathmandu. 

Dealing with difficult reviewers

This week saw the publication of another Bournemouth University paper on academic writing and publishing.  This latest paper ‘Struggling to reply to reviewers: Some advice for novice researchers‘ has been published in the scientific journal Health Prospect: Journal of Public Health.  This  journal is published in Nepal and it is Open Access, hence freely available across the globe.

Peer review is the process by which academic journals assess and regulate the quality of content they publish, by inviting academic experts to review your submitted manuscripts.  It is a process of quality control. Once you have submitted your paper to a journal the editor will select potential peer reviewers within the field of research to peer-review your manuscript and make recommendations. In many case the peer review process can be a positive experience for you as it allows you to develop your skills and improve your written work.  For example, good reviewers may notice potential imbalances, point out missing key references or highlight different potential perspectives, and thus help you to enhance the overall quality of the paper.  On some occasions, however a reviewer can be a complete pain in the neck!

The paper is written by a multidisciplinary team based in the Department of Nursing Sciences (Dr. Regmi), the Department of Social Sciences and Social Work (Dr. Harvey), and the Department of Midwifery & Health Sciences (Dr. Taylor & Prof. van Teijlingen).  The authors bring their combined expertise in midwifery, social work, health education, sociology and health services research to offers the readers advice how to deal with the more difficult reviewers.

 

Reference:

  1. Harvey, O., Taylor, A., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E. (2022) Struggling to reply to reviewers: Some advice for novice researchers Health Prospect: Journal of Public Health 21(2):19-22