Publish and Flourish: Restarting Manuscript Writing after a Break

In a previous blog (see our article Back to Work?), we talked about VARK learning styles (that individuals may have four main preferences to learn and work: Visual, Auditory, Reading/writing, and Kinesthetic) (Fleming and Mills, 1992) and briefly discussed how they can help us think of practical ways to return to work after the end-of-2022 break.

Given that it can take time to set up experiments after a break, this is the perfect time to work on your written research. After all:

The universal output of all researchers is PUBLICATIONS.

And so…

Here are some potential strategies when restarting manuscript writing work after a break, based on VARK learning styles:

Visual: A visual learner might create visual outlines or mind maps to help them organize their ideas and plan the structure of their manuscript. They might also find it helpful to explore the most appropriate visual aids (e.g. specific types of graphs and tables), to represent their data clearly and effectively.

Auditory: An auditory learner might discuss their research and manuscript ideas with colleagues or seek feedback on their work from mentors, advisors and peers. They might also find it helpful to listen to audio recordings of their own previous presentations, or recordings of speakers in their field of study for inspiration.

Reading/writing: A reading/writing learner might review their research notes and write out a plan for their manuscript, or expand on an existing one developed before the break. They might also re-visit relevant scientific articles, and conduct a fresh search for new articles recently published, as well as review submission guidelines in their targeted journal.

Kinesthetic: A kinesthetic learner might benefit from physically organizing their materials, such as by creating a physical outline or using sticky notes to rearrange ideas. They might also find it helpful to take breaks to engage in physical activities that help them to refocus and recharge.

As we are aware with models such as VARK, one can oversimplify the complexity of how individuals learn and process information. Certainly, I have found each VARK strategy to be particularly effective for different publications that my colleagues and I successfully navigated through peer review and eventually published. Given the detail-oriented process of scientific publishing, each of the strategies mentioned here do apply to a certain degree. It is certainly there for all to use!

We all know why it is important to publish our scientific research, but here are three reminders:

1. You make your mark in this (science) world. Peer-reviewed, published work is immortal.  Your work represents the best insights using the best tools and methods at the time of publication.  As a public record of your work, it will be there for your colleagues to see, to comment, to expand upon.  It is also there for your children, your nephews, nieces, and future generations of loved ones curious about this part of your working life.

2. You show gratitude to your funders.  Research is often an expensive undertaking, and funded by government agencies, funding agencies and philanthropic institutions.  Publications offer an opportunity for you to acknowledge your contributors. To thank them for trusting you with their support. To show they were right to fund your idea.

3. You can attract more funding with your published work.  Funding is key to research, and publications offer critical proof of scientific ideas that you likely want to explore further.  Publications show funders that you and your team can complete large, complicated projects, and explain your work with clarity and purpose in writing.   

In short, Publish and Flourish!

Has this been helpful to you? Does it kick you into gear? Or do you need some stronger motivation? Or some help? Maybe you would like to speak with a professional to support you to finish your manuscript writing projects, your grant applications? 

If you would like help or someone to speak to, Remotely Consulting is here for you. We specialize in English-language scientific editing and navigating peer review of life science research publications. Contact our Founder and Director, Julian Heng, or send us an email (remotelyconsulting@gmail.com) and tell us when you need. We are here to serve you.

Welcome to 2023 and I wish you all the very best for your year ahead! Let’s get some publications published! 

Julian Heng is Founder and Director of Remotely Consulting, an academic services company offering English-language scientific editing services, workshops, as well as coaching and counselling for the life sciences.  

References:

Fleming, N.D. and Mills, C. (1992) Not Another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection. To Improve the Academy, 11, 137.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Back to work? Tips for scientists returning to work after the break

Happy New Year everyone! I hope we have all had some time to reflect on our work year that was 2022, as well as to spend some time catching up with loved ones over the New Year break.  As we look to 2023, now is a good time to take steps to re-engage with work. 

But how?

We are all unique.  This is what makes us special at the workplace.  To try to understand ourselves, the way we work, the way we learn, Neil Fleming and Colleen Mills in 1992 introduced VARK, a learning model that suggests that individuals have different preferences for how they learn and process information, and that these preferences can be classified into four main categories: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic.

According to the VARK model, Visual learners prefer to learn through seeing, using diagrams, charts, and other visual aids. On the other hand, Auditory learners prefer to learn through listening, using lectures and discussions. Furthermore, Reading/writing learners prefer to learn through reading and writing, using written materials and instructions. Finally, Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn through hands-on experiences and activities.

What kind of learner do you think you are? As you ponder this…. 

Here are some tips for each learning style of VARK to return to work:

Visual: A visual learner might create visual diagrams and flow charts to help them organize and plan their experiments, to see where they paused their work before the break, and to refresh their memory as they restart work. They might also use visual aids, such as graphs or pictures, to help them understand and analyze the data they have already collected before the break, and to prioritize experiments to be conducted in the weeks and months ahead.

Auditory: An auditory learner might prefer discussing their research with colleagues or seeking feedback on their work from mentors or advisors. They might also find it helpful to listen to audio recordings of lectures or presentations related to their field of study.

Reading/writing: A reading/writing learner might re-visit their research notes, review and edit their existing plan for experiments, or develop a new one inspired by their imagination over the break. They might have read relevant articles or review guidelines for conducting research in their field and are ready to head back to the lab.

Kinesthetic: A kinesthetic learner might benefit from hands-on experimentation and actively engaging with their research through tasks such as setting up equipment or performing experiments, so as to refamiliarize themselves with their work. They might also find it helpful to use physical models or other tactile aids to help them understand and analyze their data.

As with models such as VARK, there can be a tendency to oversimplify the complexity of how individuals learn and process information. Even if you prefer a certain learning style, it is likely that you incorporate the other learning styles to a certain degree as well. Nevertheless, the VARK model can be useful as a conceptual framework to consider how to restart work routines after a break.

OKAY. Now that we have thought about ways to get back to the lab, we have to think about publishing. After all, the universal output of all researchers is publications.

Has this been helpful to you? Does it get your work mind moving? Or do you need some help? Maybe you would like to speak with someone outside of your work circle, but has lived-experience as a researcher to reflect on your year that was, plan your year ahead, to talk through how to manage a difficult conversation with a colleague, staff member or student, or even your boss?  If so, Remotely Consulting is here for you.    

Style it up in 2023!

Julian Heng is Founder and Director of Remotely Consulting, an academic services company offering English-language scientific editing services, workshops, as well as coaching and counselling for the life sciences.   

Reference:

Fleming, N.D. and Mills, C. (1992) Not Another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection. To Improve the Academy, 11, 137.

Our recent posts:

Three Months of Remotely Consulting…

Remotely Consulting is delighted to have had the privilege to work with the following Australian Universities as well as Research Institutes to provide English-language scientific editing services over the last three months.
   
The University of Queensland
The University of Western Australia
University of Melbourne
RMIT University
Monash University
Deakin University
China Medical University
Westlake University
Sichuan University
Kunming Institute of Zoology, CAS
Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Shanghai Jiao Tong University

The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Perron Institute
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI)
World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health Sciences
Barwon Health

Here is some feedback from our clients:

Your business is what a drowning PI needs.”
(Associate Professor, Research, RMIT University, Australia)

Thank you very much for your professional and detailed polish, and for your great effort. We are very satisfied with the manuscript after your polish, and we recognize your professionalism and authority very much. I look forward to working with you next time, and I will introduce you to many of my friends and look forward to working with them as well.
(Professor, Teaching & Research, China Medical University, Shenyang, China)

Thank you very much, much appreciate you working so much and comprehensively on [our paper].”
(Lecturer, Teaching & Research, University of Melbourne, Australia)

I am very satisfied with the work you done for me, including the professional English language, grammar & presentations, as well as the respond comments to reviewers and editors.”
(Researcher, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)

To our clients, thank you very much for trusting us with your work. We are delighted to learn from many of you that your research manuscripts have been published or accepted following peer review. We look forward to more opportunities to work together!

To those who might be curious about us – we are an academic services company, working in partnership with life scientists, clinicians and biomedical professionals to reach their KPIs. Please contact us today to find out more about how we can work in partnership with you to bring the best out of your #lifesciences research.


!!End-of-Year Promotion!! We are currently running a very special promotion to support English-language scientific writing excellence for native as well as non-native English speaking writers.

Do contact our Director, Julian Heng on remotelyconsulting@gmail.com to find out more. 



#lifesciences #scientificwriting #academicwriting

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Remotely Consulting delivers seminars and workshops

Remotely Consulting is delighted to deliver training seminars at a workshop organized by the International Brain Research Organization’s Asian/Pacific Regional Committee (IBRO-APRC) (October 10-23, 2022):

IBRO-APRC Advanced Bioimaging and Proteogenomics for Brain Tissue-Based and Animal Research

selected presentations by Remotely Consulting:

Seminar 1: The Write Way: Five Steps to Write a Scientific Manuscript
Details: Tips and tricks to write an English-language scientific manuscript, including activities for participants!

Seminar 2: Knowing Me, Knowing You – the ethical implications of neuroscience research practice
Details: Neuroscience helps us understand our thoughts.  This seminar introduces you to the challenges we face when thinking about how such knowledge should be used to monitor and influence our thoughts.   

Seminar 3: Starting off life as a Neuroscientist: From Training to Working Life.
Details: This careers session brings together trainees and professionals from Southeast Asia and all over the world to explain how specialized training in the life sciences prepares one for working life.  This session includes activities for participants!

A special thanks to Professor Ishwar Parhar, Associate Professors Satoshi Ogawa and Tomoko Soga and IBRO for the kind invitation to participate.  I look forward to interacting with students and colleagues over the next two weeks!

Do any of these topics interest you?  Please contact Julian Heng at remotelyconsulting@gmail.com if you are interested for Remotely Consulting to deliver these training programs to your audience.  We would be delighted to hear from you!

Wishing you all the best in the life sciences.  Today.

#lifesciences
#scientificwriting
#scienceeducation

888 for 888 – an initiative supporting life scientists to publish their research

The universal Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of ALL scientists is publications.

Writing a good story and presenting excellent data is merely the start of the journey for your science to reach a wide audience. To publish your research, you will need to (i) identify which journals you are interested to publish with; (ii) format your manuscript accordingly; (iii) write a cover letter to convince a receiving editor to consider your manuscript for peer review; (iv) manage editorial correspondence from the journal; (v) plan your response to reviewers’ comments in a well-considered letter of rebuttal; and, (vi) decide how to make your manuscript accessible to your audience, such as through open-access or paid subscription. 

Today, I am pleased to announce that my company, Remotely Consulting, is offering to work in partnership with 888 life scientists to publish their research manuscripts for AUD$888 each. 

What we provide: We will work in partnership with you to prepare your manuscript for submission to a journal.  For this, we will provide (i) English-language scientific editing of your manuscript text for structure, flow, and compatibility with the target journal’s expectations; (ii) writing support to prepare cover letters and editorial correspondence; (iii) tips and strategies as you prepare your letter of rebuttal in response to reviewers’ comments; (iv) 30 minutes of video-conferencing support with our principal, Julian Heng to discuss your manuscript; (v) a plagiarism check as an option (see terms and conditions*).

How to participate: Send your full manuscript draft (8880 words or less, excluding references) to me at remotelyconsulting@gmail.com and pay our one-off fee of AUD$888 for our service:

https://buy.stripe.com/3cseZ083WbgBffy7sA

We will reply within 24 hours of receipt of payment with an invoice to you that confirms that your project is ready to receive our special “888 for 888” package of editing services.

We also accept PO numbers from research units. Contact us and we can set you up immediately! 

Why are we offering this?  The answer is simple. To give back. As a life scientist with two decades’ experience, publishing 55 research manuscripts with over 120 co-authors from more than 20 countries all over the world, in journals including NatureNeuronCell ReportsNature Cell Biology and Human Mutation; I am bringing all my lived experience in manuscript writing, editing and publishing to support the next generation of life scientists to tell their research stories.

How long will this offer last?  Starting today, I am running this campaign for 888 days.

Can I work with Julian/Remotely Consulting for more than one manuscript project?  Of course! Contact me on remotelyconsulting@gmail.com and I will make this happen for you.  

Has anyone taken up this offer since it was launched? YES!!!

Here is some feedback from our clients:

Your business is what a drowning PI needs.”
(Associate Professor, Research, RMIT University, Australia)

Thank you very much for your professional and detailed polish, and for your great effort. We are very satisfied with the manuscript after your polish, and we recognize your professionalism and authority very much. I look forward to working with you next time, and I will introduce you to many of my friends and look forward to working with them as well.
(Professor, Teaching & Research, China Medical University, Shenyang, China)

Thank you very much, much appreciate you working so much and comprehensively on [our paper].”
(Lecturer, Teaching & Research, University of Melbourne, Australia)

I am very satisfied with the work you done for me, including the professional English language, grammar & presentations, as well as the respond comments to reviewers and editors.”
(Researcher, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)

I look forward to hearing from you and I wish you a wonderful day in the life sciences. Wherever you are.

Best regards,

Julian Heng BScPhDDip Couns

Founder and Director, Remotely Consulting

Thank you to our clients from the following universities, institutes and organizations:

*Our terms and conditions:

This offer is valid for manuscripts that are 8880 words or less (word count excludes references). If your manuscript is longer than 8880 words, we will recommend our service at a special rate to help bring your manuscript project to publication.  You are under no obligation to accept our offer of service when you receive a quotation from us. We work in partnership with you to prepare your manuscript for submission to a journal, however we do not guarantee that the manuscript will be sent out to review or accepted for publication.  Clients are responsible for all publication costs for your manuscript when it is accepted for publication. Remotely Consulting reserves the right to refuse a request for a service through the “888 for 888” initiative. If you are not completely satisfied with our service, we are willing to consider a refund. Plagiarism check is optional (priced at USD$108).

(Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash)

#lifesciences #scientificwriting #academicwriting

Reflections on Fathers and Life Science Careers

Photo credit to Kian Huay Tan and Hiang Ping Tan

On Sunday the 4th of September 2022, I take the opportunity to wish a very happy Father’s Day to all fathers and father figures in the world.

Please allow me to tell you about one of those figures in my life. My father, Kevin Heng.

Kevin was a man of few words. He showed love through acts of service, and gifts, we still have #Mask and #Centurions toys now enjoyed by two generations of children.  

He had a difficult childhood touched by poverty, malnutrition, as well as emotional and physical abuse. Yet, Kevin soared academically and professionally, going on to form his own company building shopping centres and housing apartments across Singapore, as well as construction projects across Southeast Asia.  

The picture of him atop one of his building projects in the late 1970s sees Kevin the young working parent at the peak of his professional life. He regularly led teams to pour concrete until 3am, until he almost overslept his exam finals on one occasion.  

I came to reflect on this when I worked as a young group leader at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, revising a research manuscript that reported on a brain disease gene, TUBB. The international effort behind the study meant that data was collected by labs in both the northern and southern hemisphere, working around the clock. 

On an evening drive home at 2am late one night, after collecting data on the confocal microscope for the paper, I thought of my dad pouring concrete into the early hours. I stood in his shoes and appreciated how he might have been thinking and feeling then. Fortunate to have the world at his feet and a young family to love.   

My father died in 2019, locked in his body as he suffered a severe neurodegenerative condition characterized by symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, known as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). This cruel neurodegenerative disease slowly takes away one’s ability to walk, talk, eat, sleep and, ultimately, to breathe. My father, a man of few words, sadly died saying nothing. But, his love for us was, and always will be, everything.

This blog is for mentors and father figures in the #lifesciences. In what we do everyday in our professional lives, we can pass on our values, ethics and professional conduct. We can take a moment to listen to young scientists and biomedical professionals. Guide the next generation of #bluesky life scientists and biomedical professionals.

I launched Remotely Consulting to support careers in the life sciences. I am passing on my values. All that I have learnt from Father figures, and more.   

To my fellow life science and biomedical colleagues, what father figure inspired you? Share your story this #FathersDay so that others can be inspired too.

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Julian Heng is a 17-year veteran of the life sciences and Founder and Director of Remotely Consulting, an academic services company that boosts the careers of life scientists and biomedical practitioners at all levels, from students to professionals.

Remotely Consulting offers English language editing services and mentoring/coaching to support you on your career journey. Contact us today on remotelyconsulting@gmail.com to find out how we can partner you to bring the best out of your life sciences research.

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