Why publish? ILRI graduate fellows and early career researchers trained in scientific writing and publishing

Introduction to scientific writing and publishing module training

Participants in a scientific writing and publishing module training for ILRI staff on 25-26 November 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

As part of their expected deliverables PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and early career researchers at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) are expected to share knowledge gained in the process of research and to communicate with fellow scientists and wider audiences. This process involves the eventual publishing of research findings in academic and scientific journals. But many first time researchers find the process of getting their research findings published difficult because they lack the relevant skills and awareness of the rules and regulations of scientific writing and publishing.

To address this skills gap, ILRI’s Capacity Development (CapDev) Unit working in collaboration with People & Organizational Development (P&OD) Unit and the Training Centre for Communication (TCC), recently delivered an interactive and practical workshop designed to give ILRI graduate and post-doctoral fellows and early career researchers, an opportunity to understand the process of scientific writing and publishing and to develop skills that would help them maximize the output and impact of their research.

The workshops were organized and held in two sessions on 25-26 November and 2-3 December 2014 at the ILRI Nairobi campus. Key topics of the training sought to address how researchers can contribute effectively to the scientific knowledge bank through publishing their research and the processes, rules and ethical aspects of scientific writing and publishing. Thirty-seven participants including Msc and PhD fellows, postdoctoral fellows and early career researchers (research assistants and technicians) attended the workshops.

‘This training has been very helpful to me,’ said Leonard Marwa, a PhD student at ILRI, ‘I will apply the new knowledge gained in writing scientific papers of high quality that have a higher chance of being accepted for publishing in journals,’ he further commented.

Introduction to scientific writing and publishing module training

Participants in a scientific writing and publishing module training for ILRI staff on 2-3 December 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Samuel Mungai).

Hannah Nyota, a research assistant with the ILRI Policy Trade and Value Chains (PTVC) Program, noted that that interactions at the training workshop helped colleagues exchange information on the research they are doing and that fellow researchers, together with the trainers, provided useful feedback to help them improve their work. ‘We now understand better the need to publish our findings,’ she said.

The course was part of an ILRI’s CapDev/P&OD unit’s initiative to provide learning opportunities to graduate fellows and staff that include a blend of a series of ‘bite-size’ modular courses in cross-cutting skills areas, e-learning opportunities, effective mentorship support, evidence and assessments to further enrich the their learning experience at ILRI.

Through the graduate fellowship program, ILRI provides opportunities for young scientists and graduate fellows from National Agricultural Research Organizations (NARS), universities and other institutions to undertake quality research-for-development (R4D) within ILRI projects. The graduate fellows are able to access ILRI’s cutting edge research facilities, receive mentorship from ILRI scientists while at the same time make a valuable contribution to ILRI’s research agenda.

Written by Joyce Maru, capacity development officer at ILRI.