Presenting your research to the media

This is the theme of our September meeting, when we welcome Rachael Dowling, the Trust’s Research Communications Manager.

  • What do journalists look for in a research story?
  • How can you build your own research story for the media?
  • Where does social media fit into this picture?

If you have research or other work that you want to talk to the media about, do come along.

Book your free place by phoning the Odames Library on 5558 / 0116 258 5558, or by emailing the Odames Library.

When: Tuesday 12th September

Time: 1 – 2 pm

Place: Odames Meeting Room, Odames Library (Victoria, LRI).


Selecting the journal to submit your paper

Once you’ve done all the hard work, where do you submit your paper? Actually, let’s rewind that. It helps if you plan where you want to submit before putting pen to paper. That’ll help you focus on who your audience is, and means you can work to the guidance from the journal’s instructions to authors. Your research needs an audience if it’s going to be read, and hopefully make in difference in your area of interest.

You can “sound out” editors with a brief synopsis of your work, or you can check thoroughly through the instructions to authors and be satisfied that you’re meeting the criteria of your chosen journal. Remember, the journal’s editorial board want to publish high quality research that’s going to be of interest to their readers, so they are trying to help you get your work into print, rather than being the ferocious gatekeepers determined to keep you out.

Have a browse through the recently published articles in the journal, see if you think your work could sit alongside the kinds of papers they already have published.

Check that the journal is a well respected publication in its field of interest, take a look at the people on the editorial board and the names of authors publishing. Use the Think, Check, Submit website’s checklist to be sure the journal is one you want your work to appear within.

Finally, make sure your work addresses all of the criteria that the journal is looking for, if they say they don’t publish work under or over a certain word count, then make sure you’re within their limits. Following their guidance, you can get your paper into print!



Increasing the Impact of your Research

UHL Writing Club were pleased to host Laurian Williamson (Open Access and Research Data Manager, University of Leicester) who delivered an interesting presentation on measuring the impact of research. 

Key points included:

  •  Funders of research want demonstrable impact, but this can be open to interpretation. Traditional citations/ impact factors are one measure of impact, but Altmetrics may be used to complement this. Making things open is a big drive now from all funders and publishers to make evidence available to all.
  • Impact can also be important for networking, building credibility and employability.
  • Research Excellence Framework (REF) which assesses academic institutions expects all publications to be Open Access. Open Access does not mean ‘no peer-review’.
  • Some funders insist on Open Research e.g. The Wellcome Trust
  • The broader perspective is also important, we have a responsibility to archive and preserve information for future scholars.
  • If doing citation analysis, use two or more tools to increase reliability e.g. Web of Science/ Scopus/ Google Scholar
  • The Altmetric doughnut is a downloadable bookmarklet (avoid Internet Explorer) that calculates citations of a doi (Digital Object identifier) from over 8000 sources, including grey literature, policy documents, social media, and public health. Very much a live picture of recent awareness online, and about who is discussing my research. Very much a live picture of recent awareness. Need more evidence for the usefulness of altmetrics. Not to be discounted yet.
  • University of Leicester have bought the enhanced version of altmetrics to have access to the institutional dashboard so they can see everything.
  • Sign up for a free ORCID id, this helps avoid confusion with authors of similar names. Many publishers insist on you having one when submitting.
  • BASE – is a search engine for ‘author approved manuscripts’ that are increasingly deposited in Institutional Repositories and are Open Access Bielefeld Academic Search Engine
  • OA articles downloaded 89% more.


Research data

  • Funders and publishers are demanding transparency, replication and reuse of research. Can others do something interesting with your data.
  • Think beyond numbers on a spreadsheet. Some data may still be handwritten notes. Field notes and diaries that may need to be digitised. Not always what we traditionally think of as data.
  • Peer reviewers may ask to see published data alongside a submitted paper.
  • Supplementary material is no longer enough, need to see the data behind the findings.
  • Sensitive data should not be shared, but the default should be to make it open where possible. The fact that anonymisation takes time and effort is not a good enough reason to keep data closed.
  • Your research output has to have a persistent identifiers, a DOI, then it can be found and used. The date should also have metadata to enable other people to make sense of it.
  • Data Repositories are often available within institutions, or there may be a disciple specific repository e.g. Genetics. Figshare and Zenodo are alternatives.
  • Data will be the next big thing for open. RCUK expect researchers to do everything possible to make their data available if funded.
  • Horizon 2020 is an EU funder who support open access and say that data is as important as publications for societal benefit.
  • Collaboration of data from studies during the Zika epidemic had a huge benefit for society.

Writing Club for May: Measuring the impact of your research

We welcome Laurian Williamson, Open Access and Research Data Manager at the University of Leicester.   Laurian will speak about measuring and increasing the impact of your research outputs, whether publications or research data.

How can you promote your work effectively?    How can you measure current reach and impact?    How can you increase that impact?

Laurian will talk about:

  • Citations, citation counts and citation indexes
  • Journal metrics and author metrics
  • Altmetrics
  • New metrics, for research data metrics

May’s Writing Club will be on Tuesday 16th May, from 1 pm to 2 pm, in the Odames Meeting Room, Odames Library, Victoria Building, LRI.

All UHL staff welcome.   To book a free place, please ring the Clinical Librarians on 5558 or email

More about predatory journals

Some recent interesting reading about this subject.

The Times Higher Education blog has just published a piece by researchers from the Centre for Journalology in Ottawa, on how to spot a “predatory” journal. It has some interesting things to say about the now defunct Beall’s List and presents a checklist of 13 warning signs to help you detect an “illegitimate publishing entity” (their preferred term).

A recent Minerva column in the BMJ refers to a study reported in Nature, in which a Dr Anna O. Szust applied to a large number of “predatory” journals asking to be an editor.    48 out of the 360 accepted her and 4 of those made her editor in chief.   Polish speakers among you (sadly I am not one) will spot that oszust means “fraud”.

The New York Times covered this story.    Minerva also refers to a study in BMC Medicine, involving the two THE blog authors, on how to tell the difference between a predatory and a legitimate biomedical journal.


UHL Writing for Publication workshops May – Jul 2017

The dates for the forthcoming “Writing for Publication” workshops are now available to book via eUHL. This is a two hour workshop in which you’ll be given the chance to sit and write, talk about what makes a good paper, and experience peer reviewing a paper.

The dates are:

Thursday 18th May 2017; 2.00pm – 4.00pm, Glenfield Library

Monday 12th June 2017; 10.00am – 12.00pm, Odames Library, LRI

Tuesday 11th July 2017; 2.00pm – 4.00pm, Leicester General Library

For more information, please contact your local UHL Library.

Language and style

It seems easy to find articles about how to structure an article, but less easy to find things about good use of language in general.   Here are a few things that might help with academic or scientific writing, including choice of words, writing well-structured sentences and paragraphs, and grammar.


Scitable: English Communication for Scientists.  Has a section about writing scientific papers, but also general information on communicating as a scientist and sections on oral presentations and interacting at conferences.  Click Table of Contents to see everything.

EASE Toolkit for Authors.  “Guidelines and resources for scientific writing and publishing…” from the European Association of Science Editors.

Writing for publication: an easy to follow guide for nurses interested in publishing their work. [Internet].: Wiley; 2014 [cited 16th March 2017]. Available from:

Higher Education Academy.  Effective research writing: STEM discipline. [Internet].: Higher Education Academy; 2013 [cited 16th March 2017]. Available from:


These may need a subscription or access through your library:

Bain BJ, Littlewood TJ, Szydlo RM. The finer points of writing and refereeing scientific articles. Br J Haematol. 2016 Feb;172(3):350-9.

Dixon N. Writing for publication–a guide for new authors. Int J Qual Health Care. 2001 Oct;13(5):417-21.

Fahy K. Writing for publication: argument and evidence. Women Birth. 2008 Sep;21(3):113-7.

Fahy K. Writing for publication: the basics. Women Birth. 2008 Jun;21(2):86-91.

Ridgway G. Writing for publication and avoiding pitfalls. Clin Teach. 2015 Apr;12(2):73-7.

A book

Hall GM. How to write a paper. 5th ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell/BMJ Books; 2013.

which has a chapter on style, or at books about academic writing, study skills or doing a research project.