An online workshop in India drew more than 1,200 early-career researchers and PhD students from 20 institutions across India. It was the first workshop of Publishing Connect – Elsevier's author training program – to be held entirely online.
Even the Elsevier facilitating staff were in separate locations, with presenter Keith Lambert in Oxford, UK, as I joined from New Delhi.
With a distinct engineering bias among the participants, Lambert, a Publisher for Elsevier's Engineering portfolio, was the natural choice to present. His 90-minute workshop focused on a range of publishing topics, including:
- Manuscript preparation and article structure
- Scientific language usage
- The peer-review process
- The Impact Factor and other bibliometric indicators
"Imagine the challenge for a presenter: 90 minutes with no eye-to-eye contact," Lambert said. "And imagine the challenge for the audience!"
To keep the session lively, we decided to make it as interactive as possible, gathering questions through the chat function.
The feedback received in the post-event survey has shown that despite the unusual format for an author workshop, participants still gleaned useful knowledge to help them navigate the publishing process.
In an online survey after the event, one student wrote: "…The seminar clarified my doubts regarding the importance of individual sections in the paper and their organization. Information provided regarding usage of language was also helpful".
Another said the seminar provided guidance about the varying journals available, the steps needed to prepare a manuscript and how to select an appropriate journal. In their words:
The information is very useful for authors, and especially to the new researcher who wants to publish their research work for the first time.
The aim is now to use the India event as the basis for a best-practice document that can provide a blueprint for future online events of this kind.[divider]
What is Publishing Connect?
The Publishing Connect program comprises two main elements:
- Author and reviewer workshops (held at universities and research or educational institutions, usually in partnership with one of Elsevier's journal editors)
- Online training webcasts
A range of experienced staff at Elsevier have pooled their knowledge to create a series of live workshops offering advice on everything from how the publishing process works to writing and submitting a manuscript. Current modules include:
- Introduction to Scholarly Publishing
- How to Get Published
- Author Rights
- Open Access
- Research and Publication Ethics
- Successful Grant Writing
- Getting Your Paper Noticed
- The Impact Factor and Other Bibliometric Indicators
- Innovation in the Research and Publishing Landscape
Since 2006, when the Publishing Connect program started, the number of PhD students, postdoctoral students and junior faculty participating has risen year on year; in 2012, our publishers and editors reached a record of more than 24,000 researchers through more than 350 workshops. The 2013 figures are expected to exceed these.
The workshops are often hosted by institutions in countries where research is growing rapidly and knowledge of the publishing process is still relatively basic. In these locations, the modules on how to write a paper and authors' rights and responsibilities have been particularly popular.
Publishing Connect webcasts
These bite-sized online training webcasts, each of which is up to 15 minutes long, are from the Publishing Connect training webcasts library on Elsevier.com. The series has collectively garnered more than 280,000 views to date, and more webcasts are in the pipeline.
Elsevier Connect Contributor
In his role as a Research Solutions Sales Trainer with Elsevier's Academic & Government department, Rajeev Kumar supports authors by training them on publishing-related topics. His focus is on South Asia, and during his discussions with the institutions affiliated with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), it became apparent there was a need to connect simultaneously with a large number of aspiring students and early-career researchers. That led him to develop the idea of an online workshop and organize the first one for Publishing Connect.