Upcoming Early Career Academic Masterclasses in October, with Professor James Coyne



NECTAR is delivering two masterclasses at ANU later this month, led and presented by renowned international academic Professor James Coyne: “How to write high impact papers and what to do when your manuscript is rejected”, and “Developing critical appraisal skills and becoming a responsible, engaged scientist.

Places are limited to 25 people for each workshop and will be accepted in order of registration.

For further information about these workshops and to register your participation, please see below.

“How to Write High Impact Papers and What to Do When Your Manuscript is Rejected”


Workshop Background and Purpose

“The good thing about a war is that one morning you will wake up dead and won’t have to write”- Ernst Hemingway.

The publishing of scientific papers is undergoing dramatic changes. Many papers are rejected without being sent for peer review and yet other papers appear on PubMed within weeks of submission. There is an increasing need to capture an editor’s enthusiasm based on the title, cover letter, and abstract alone, if a manuscript is even to be sent out for formal peer review. A well-organized manuscript reporting results of a well-conducted experiment in grammatically correct English sentences may not be sufficient to secure peer review and publication in the highest impact journal possible. Moreover, many journals have new policies concerning “salami slicing”, redundant publications, and self-plagiarism that are enforced with sophisticated web tools that can trap the unwary. And there is an increasing need to write press releases, tweet, and deal with post-publication publicity.

This workshop will introduce strategies for writing journal articles so that the process, although perhaps not effortless and joyous, should be at least less painful and more assured of success.

Topics include:

  • The changing world of scientific publishing: open access and rapid changes in subscription journals
  • Creative use of web-based resources to find references and pick journals and reviewers
  • Don’t be boring: crafting a catchy storyline for cover letters and the abstract
  • The Elevator Talk as a way of organizing abstracts and cover letters and the basic structure of the manuscript
  • Avoiding the perils of inadvertent plagiarizing and salami slicing
  • Integrating daily writing into your lifestyle
  • Writing and rewriting the manuscript
  • Getting your manuscript past the editor and sent out for peer review
  • Post-submission responsibilities
  • Writing cover letters and responses to reviewers’ comments
  • Strategizing when your manuscript is rejected
  • Why you should write press releases
  • Using self-citation, twitter, and publicity to increase early citations.

Date: Monday 19th October, 2015  Time: 9.00am-5.00pm   Venue: Peter Baume Building (Building 42a) Room 2.01, ANU

If you’re interested to take part in this, please register your participation via the following Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/how-to-write-high-impact-papers-and-what-to-do-when-your-manuscript-is-rejected-a-nectar-tickets-18899052575

Please note: Places are limited to 25 people for this masterclass.

“‘Most positive findings are false or exaggerated’: developing critical appraisal skills and becoming a responsible, engaged scientist”


Workshop Background & Purpose

Academics are under enormous pressure to publish in the highest impact journals possible and to be publicly engaged so that their work reaches the widest possible audiences. Yet, perverse incentives to publish today are corrupting the scientific literature and the media that covers it. Scientific journals committed to achieving the highest impact factors requires that papers that are newsworthy and immediately attention gathering. Solid science does not necessarily meet these criteria, and getting published too often requires sacrificing robustness and trustworthiness. It is no accident that the highest impact journals have the highest rate of retractions, despite strong barriers to retracting patently bad science.

This workshop will provide the tools for you to see for yourself that many positive findings of false, and many breakthrough discoveries ultimately prove exaggerated or irreproducible. Shortcomings in the scientific literature are amplified in media representations, but much badly reported science in the media can be traced to the excesses of scientists and the university-generated press releases. You will learn how to quickly screen scientific papers and their press coverage and detect bad science.

Workshop Objectives

  • To document that much of the scientific literature and the media that reports it are unreliable.
  • To cultivate participants’ critical skills to detect bad science and bad reporting.
  • To develop participants’ ability to produce and publish responsible, quality research despite perverse incentives encouraging bad research practices and disincentives for good practices.
  • To develop participants’ ability to engage journalists and the media and to encourage responsible reporting of their work.
  • To enlist participants as activists in the fight against bad science and bad media representations of science.

Workshop Methods

  • Didactic presentation and Q&A session (90 minutes)
  • Specific interactive modules for randomized trials, meta-analyses, and policy-oriented correlational epidemiological studies (90minutes)
  • Group projects applying critical appraisal skills and feedback (60 minutes)
  • Interactive reporting of group projects (60 minutes)
  • Participants providing the instructor with examples from the literature and media which he will use to demonstrate curb side, rapid assessment techniques (60minutes)

Date: Wednesday 21st October, 2015  Time: 9.00am-5.00pm  Venue: Peter Baume Building (Building 42a), Room 2.01, ANU

If you’re interested to take part in this, please register your participation via the following Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/developing-critical-appraisal-skills-a-nectar-masterclass-with-prof-james-coyne-tickets-18896865032

Please note: Places are limited to 25 people for this masterclass.

These events are proudly bought to you by NECTAR. For further information, you can contact the NECTAR Coordinator via email: nectar@anu.edu.au 

About the Workshop Leader

James C. Coyne is Professor Emeritus of Psychology in Psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania and former Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, as well as Professor of Health Psychology at University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Dr Coyne is also a blogger at Science-Based Medicine and PLOS Mind the Brain (http://blogs.plos.org/mindthebrain/author/jcyone/) where he sometimes takes editors of high impact journals to task for poor editorial decisions, confirmatory bias and other actions that put bad evidence into the literature.