The Mario Negri Scientific Writing Academy – a must for science writingiclaron
With support from Fondazione della Comunità Bergamasca, Fluorseals SPA, and ISN, the Mario Negri Institute has run the Scientific Writing Academy (SWA) since 2012. The workshop helps physicians and researchers from a range of backgrounds and specializations fine-tune their writing skills.
Achieving and maintaining high standards in science writing is crucial to advancing research as much as sharing, testing and comparing new ideas and discoveries.
“We want to equip researchers with the tools to publish high quality papers in top international journals, an indispensable aspect of working in research,” says Past ISN President Giuseppe Remuzzi, who heads the Italian institute.
This year, a group of ten physicians and researchers gathered at Villa Camozzi in northern Italy, with Professor David Warnock from the University of Alabama, to learn to write better by taking apart and rewriting an existing paper. Prof Warnock explains: “There was high interest and enthusiasm, which set the tone for the week.”
Participants Sidy Seck and Sreejith Parameswaran both believe they “left the academy inspired and motivated to write”, but also to do more basic research and launch projects in their own countries. For Sreejith Parameswaran, this would include “initiating studies focusing on Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), and highlighting important regional issues.” They also mentioned collaborating with their new international connections on projects that would compare the incidence and treatment of AKI in their respective regions.
Monica Cortinovis, who works at Mario Negri, underlined how useful it can be to hear from colleagues who come from different backgrounds and bring new perspectives to the paper. Kanishka Sharma, also of the institute, added that it is important to “present a long and complicated problem by dividing it into simpler pieces that are then seamlessly put together for the reader to understand.”
Participants now also believe they are able to use programmes like EndNote better, which Sharma believes makes the writing process “smoother and less time consuming.” They have explored how to write cover letters, and are in a better position to write reviews and evaluate the work of others work.
At the end of this one-week course, participants left better equipped to plan and outline papers in an organized, systematic way, and to incorporate their colleagues’ suggestions and observations. To come full circle, they will now pass this on to their colleagues around the world, in the hope that they, in turn, will communicate their findings even more effectively, continuing to move science forward, one paper at a time.