FSK-8002 Scientific writing: why and how? (3 ECTS)

Writing and publishing scientific papers requires a lot of practice. What are the best practices in your field of science, and why do journals reject papers? What about your English grammar, is there room for improvement? This course is recommended for PhD candidates in their second year or once students have a manuscript draft ready that they want to work on. This course is designed to help students during the article writing process both with regard to hands-on support with the manuscript, as well as giving students a motivation boost for making progress in their writing.

Part 1: assignment prior to course start
All participants are required to work on their own manuscripts during the course. A manuscript draft has to be submitted to Canvas 3 weeks in advance of the course. This manuscript may be at an early or late stage, however it needs to have enough content that a mentor in the relevant field can comment on it. A list of bullet points with some figures is not regarded enough for this assignment. More information will be made available on Canvas in the beginning of September.

Part 2: course lectures
The course contains of lectures on publishing, the peer-review process, and how to present scientific data in figures. Another focus of the course is on scientific English and grammar.

Part 3: group work
Participants with similar scientific background are grouped together to work on their manuscripts over an one month period, a process that will be followed up by us and works as follows:

  • An experienced researcher/ mentor reads through the submitted manuscripts, gives general comments on structure and returns the manuscript by course start.
  • The group meets 3-4 times over the following month and one manuscript will be the main focus at each meeting. This help the students to practice giving and receiving feedback and provides help to incorporate the comments received by the mentors.
  • The manuscript in focus needs to be distributed to the group at least three working days in advance so that all members can formulate suggested improvements and constructive feedback.
  • When all manuscripts have been discussed, and all feedback incorporated, the final version must be submitted in Canvas in order to be admitted to the final exam of the course.

The improvement of the manuscript, active participation during group meetings and input to the other group participants’ manuscripts makes the participants eligible for the exam.

Part 4: home exam
The students will be tested in the role of a peer reviewer, where they can choose between manuscripts from different research fields. Students will be ask to complete the reviewer form and formulate concrete feedback to the manuscript, including specific comments on mistakes, suggestions of improvements, etc. This is is not a test of the candidates` skills within the respective scientific topics but has a focus on how a manuscript should be formatted to meet both the journal’s and the scientific standard.

Course schedule:
The course runs always in autumn semester, presumably in October. More detailed information can be found in the UiT course catalogue.

Registration for the course via StudentWeb for PhD students from UiT  and SøknadsWeb for PhD students from other Norwegian universities. Please check the UiT course catalogue for more information regarding the course registration.