Writing for publication workshop

A few weeks ago my department began a “Writing for publication” workshop, in which each participant would both write and review an article for publication.  In theory, this has two distinct advantages: 1) Everyone gets to submit a peer-reviewed article at the end of the workshop, and 2) Everyone gets to experience the process of reviewing other people’s work.

Each week, every person in the group writes a section of the article, beginning with the Introduction and finishing with a Conclusion, so the process takes about 6-7 weeks, allowing for a little extra time here and there.  Each participant was given a file with guidelines on the writing of each section, as well as reviewing of that section.

On the whole, I think the process is definitely worthwhile and could have potentially great results if undertaken at a departmental level.  I also think it might make an interesting cross-disciplinary project, with participants at a faculty level exchanging articles for each to review (feedback would obviously then be about the writing, not the content).

Here are a few notes about how I experienced the workshop:

  • I liked the idea of the set timetable.  For me, it was easier to make sure I got the work done, rather than find excuses to do those other things that were “more important” (read; procrastinate).
  • Since I don’t have much experience in academic publishing (or any publishing for that matter), going through the writing and reviewing process was a useful learning experience.  The guidelines we received were absolutely essential to me for this.
  • Getting feedback from each member of the group was interesting, as everyone brings something different to the process, which was also a good learning experience.
  • I liked getting feedback on a regular basis throughout the workshop, rather than writing an entire article myself, with feedback coming at the end.  This allowed me to begin refining the article from the start, which was also new.

All in all, not only was it a good learning experience in terms of writing and reviewing an article, but the result is a finished, peer-reviewed article ready for submission.  With the move towards evidence-based practice (be that teaching practice or physiotherapy practice), research and publication is clearly high on the agenda in higher education, and a workshop like this has clear advantages.

By Michael Rowe

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm interested in technology, education and healthcare and look for places where these things meet.