Training

We offer training on various topics related to scientific publishing. This can be in the form of a workshop (from 3 hours to over 3 days), a series of workshops or an online course.

Training can be tailored to your needs, with varying numbers of participants and types of exercise.

Workshops often include individual feedback on writing (such as an abstract) written by participants, either beforehand, during the workshop or between parts of a workshop that spreads over several weeks. We can quickly spot how writing can be improved and give constructive, supportive comments to help participants to improve them. This feedback can be done by the trainer or can also include feedback at a distance by freelance editors.

Participants and organisers love these workshops – see the testimonials we have received. See also our values, which underlie everything we do.

Do you run a researcher development programme? Contact us to discuss how Cofactor’s workshops on writing and publishing could enhance the programme you provide to science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) PhD students or research staff.

Would you like to attend a Cofactor workshop? Suggest one to your university’s researcher development training coordinator or contact us. We don’t currently run any open workshops, but we might in the future, so let us know if you’d be interested.
Note: we do not provide training for researchers in arts, humanities and social sciences subjects. The writing style and standard procedures in these subjects are very different and others are more expert in them than we are.

Would you like training for your research group or the collaborators on a project? We can provide tailored help, which can include a training workshop, coaching each author to get them to a first draft, individual feedback on first drafts, and editing of the final versions.

Most of our training is derived from the standard two-day workshop ‘Writing and publishing a scientific paper’. This is designed for between 5 and 20 PhD students, postdocs or more senior researchers at any career stage in STEM subjects (life sciences, biomedical sciences, earth sciences, medicine, healthcare, physical sciences, engineering and computer sciences).

Outline of the standard two-day 'Writing and publishing a scientific paper' workshop:

Day 1

  • Introduction A chance to consider why you might want to publish in peer reviewed journals. Presentation, discussion in pairs and the whole group.
  • Looking at papers Examining the papers participants have brought with, comparing them, and discussing what features make a good or bad paper.
  • The main message and structure of the paper Guidance on the elements that should be included, and in what order, and looking again at our example papers using these insights.
  • Writing style Guidance on the writing style needed for research papers, exercise rewriting sample sentences, and analysing the sentences in our example papers.
  • Abstracts and titles Guidance followed by exercise and application to our example paper.

 

At the end of the day, the participants are asked to draft an abstract for their own paper, based on what they have learned. One-to-one feedback on participants’ abstracts is given throughout day 2, either by the presenting trainer or by another trainer remotely. For workshops where days 1 and 2 are separated by a day or more, the feedback can be done between the days.

Day 2

  • The writing process Overview of the process of writing, including techniques for getting motivated, getting into the habit of writing and getting feedback. Exercise writing non-stop for 10 minutes.
  • Publicising your paper Guidance on why this is essential and how to do it.

 

  • Looking at journals Exercise looking at the websites of journals of interest to participants (as well as other directories) to identify key ways in which they differ and discussion of which of these matter.
  • Choosing a journal Guidance on the criteria to think about when choosing a journal
  • The peer review process Negotiating the peer review process, responding to decisions including rejection, and responding to reviewer reports. Includes guidance on being a reviewer and on variations in type of peer review.
  • Being an editor exercise Participants act as editors of their own virtual journal based on recent preprints.

Variations on the standard workshop include:

  • A one-day workshop omitting the some sections (such as guidance on being a reviewer and on variations in type of peer review) and some of the exercises
  • A half day workshop with some of the above sections
  • A longer workshop with additional exercises and time for writing and feedback
  • A focus on writing or publishing rather than both
  • A workshop for a larger group, in which individual feedback on abstracts cannot be provided and there is less interactivity
  • A workshop for fewer than eight people, with more individual feedback and discussion

Cofactor can also provide training on other related topics:

  • publicising your paper and social media
  • being a peer reviewer
  • introduction to open access

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