Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research
With three successful courses run in 2019, the UK EQUATOR Centre is now planning the 2020 editions of its Publication School. This two-day interactive course covers the whole academic publication process, from planning to dissemination, and everything in between. “The UK EQUATOR Centre’s Publication School is designed for early-career biomedical researchers,” explains Dr Jennifer de Beyer, course organiser and trainer. “Our goal is to give participants the tools they need to write excellent research articles – and to enjoy the process!”
The team has just wrapped up the seventh edition of their course, once again with excellent feedback from the 23 early-career researchers and students who participated. The UK EQUATOR Centre has been offering Publication School in Oxford since 2015, improving the content and format each time to meet researchers’ needs. Publication School “spin-offs” have also been taught by EQUATOR colleagues in Canada and Australia to great acclaim.
Preparations for the 2020 editions of the UK EQUATOR Centre Publication School are already underway. “Every iteration of the course is a chance to improve our content and delivery, in response to participant feedback,” says Dr Paula Dhiman, a medical statistician and course trainer. Her session on responding to peer review comments, which uses Dr Dhiman’s own research paper as an example, is a participant favourite.
Feedback from participants over the last year confirms that the team is on the right track. “Should be essential for PhD students,” said one November 2019 participant, while a June 2019 participant praised the course: “It broke academic writing for publication down into really manageable and achievable guidance points. Made me less worried about writing my next article!”
The November 2019 group
The course focuses on each section of a biomedical research article, in turn, teaching participants how to tackle the structure, content, and language, and to use reporting guidelines to make sure they remember important details. “One session that participants particularly enjoy is how to use their word choices in their abstract and keywords to increase the findability of their articles,” says Dr Patricia Logullo, a writing expert who teaches on the course. Participants put their learning into practice by comparing published papers to the ideal and editing passages for clarity. They also discuss potentially tricky issues such as authorship, journal choice, and copyright.
Learning while teaching
Although the UK EQUATOR Centre’s Publication School was first offered as an annual five-day course, it has been offered in its present two-day format since 2018. “The 2015 to 2017 editions were longer immersion workshops, with invited presenters and longer sessions,” says Caroline Struthers, organiser of the first Publication Schools. “But not everybody can stay away from work for a whole week, and with the condensed version we could reach more people, particularly the early-career researchers we’re aiming for.”
This long history of delivering Publication School has allowed the UK EQUATOR Centre to understand the teaching strategies that work best, improve its interactive activities, and cover gaps. “Finally being taught about this has been incredibly useful,” said one of the students. “Never thought of this before,” added another.
History of the UK EQUATOR Publication School in Oxford
2015 6-10 July Five-day course St Anne’s College
2016 27 June to 1 July Five-day course St Catherine’s College
2017 19-23 June Five-day course St Catherine’s College
2018 14-15 June Two-day course Botnar Research Centre
2019 11-12 April Two-day course Botnar Research Centre
2019 13-14 June Two-day course Botnar Research Centre
2019 7-8 November Two-day course Botnar Research Centre
Join the UK EQUATOR Centre’s Publication Schools in 2020
If you’d like to join the UK EQUATOR Centre’s Publication School, email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your eligibility and book your place. The course will run on 12-13 March, 16-17 July, and 12-13 November 2020.
The UK EQUATOR Centre’s programme of research and training is made possible by funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and Cancer Research UK (CRUK). The UK EQUATOR Centre’s Publication School in 2019 was sponsored by the NIHR’s Oxford BRC. The views and opinions expressed by authors in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of their funders, the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health and Social Care.
In a previous post detailing my time with the EQUATOR Network, I spoke about my work on the STrengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement. STROBE is one of the original “core” reporting guidelines which provides guidance...