The success of a research institute or university department is ultimately dependent on the publication record of its constituent groups. Yet, despite the enormous human and financial resources invested in scientific research, relatively little time is dedicated to establishing conditions that favour efficient, high-impact publication. The training and consultancy programmes provided by Dr. Iain Patten address this issue by helping researchers at all levels to contribute more effectively to the publication output of their institutes and departments. Training is integrated wherever possible into the projected publication output of the institute and focuses on day-to-day writing and publication challenges. By taking a holistic approach to understanding writing and publication, the programmes offered by Dr. Patten combine the long-term benefits of skill development with tangible short-term benefits for publication output.
A core feature of the training packages offered by Dr. Patten is the intensive Writing for Publication programme. This programme provides a rare opportunity for young researchers to develop one or more manuscripts for publication while receiving high levels of individual coaching and input from a scientific writing consultant. The most important feature of the Writing for Publication programme is its emphasis on writing as a central element in a researcher’s working life. Through a careful exploration of the way they currently approach writing, participants are able to identify strategies that will improve their productivity and ensure that the potential of their research is fully exploited. Core writing skills are addressed throughout the programme and participants are supported to identify tools that will support their ongoing development as independent writers. To ensure that the potential of this unique training is fully exploited, a short workshop—Making Sense of Writing—is available to introduce larger groups of early career researchers to core skills in scientific writing.
For learning to be effective, it must be consolidated through ongoing interaction with mentors and others within the normal working environment. Therefore, to ensure that the training offered within the Making Sense of Writing workshop and Writing for Publication programme is supported within participants’ research groups, additional training is available for group leaders through the Effective Management of Writing and Publication workshop. The aim of this training is two-fold: to help group leaders mentor the writing of students and postdoctoral researchers effectively and to optimise the publication output of their groups. The workshop focuses on the actual experiences and plans of the group leaders who participate and helps them to identify meaningful solutions to the writing and publication challenges they face. In this way, the Effective Management of Writing and Publication workshop provides a bridge between the training provided to individual researchers and the overall publication output of the institute or department.