From 22nd – 23rd January 2019, Clarke International University(CIU) in partnership with Makerere University conducted an insightful two-day manuscript writing workshop. The workshop was facilitated by a competent and experienced team led by Prof. Sarah Kiguli from Makerere University.
This faculty training workshop in scientific writing was organized as part of the Health Professional Education Partnership Initiative(HEPI), a research project that arises from a grant won by Makerere University in partnership with CIU and other institutions. In attendance were CIU staff members, students and alumni.
Key issues discussed during this workshop include authorship musts and what it means to be an author i.e. one of the authorship musts is agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work and ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately resolved. Other aspects addressed were journal selection, the manuscript review process by journal editors, plagiarism, clear writing techniques, results presentation, research methodologies among others.
“When starting out to publish, try to look for local journals first because the higher the impact factor of a journal, the higher the rejection rate,” Dr. Ian Munabi advised.
The process of writing a manuscript and getting it published in a journal is usually lengthy but it is always worth the time and energy input. During Dr. Munabi’s presentation on journal selection, he cautioned researchers to beware of predatory journals because they are currently very many and they stagnant researchers.
“Predatory journals normally like targeting young authors and once they have your work you are trapped,” Dr. Munabi emphasized.
According to Dr. Roy Mubuuke, research is what differentiates universities from secondary schools and therefore students and staff must always be engaged in conducting research and publishing manuscripts. Dr. Mubuke said one of the main reasons he enjoys publishing is to share knowledge and findings.
Authors ought to know that in any research, the question being answered must always be clear. The research question should be well aligned with the chosen methodology. The choice of results presentation also matters a lot and it should be chosen according to the journal guidelines and other conventions of the field.
According to Dr. Munabi, results must be presented in logical order in relation to the objective of the manuscript and it is advisable to use tables instead of diagrams in order to maximize space.
“The results presentation structure and process they gave us is a good road map guiding us and we have already started adapting it in our writing,” said Florence Githinji the Quality Assurance officer at Clarke International University.
Githinji further adds on that the manuscript training workshops should be given more time so that the attendees understand the concepts thoroughly.
Dr. Mubuuke says one of the biggest reasons why manuscripts get rejected is wrong journal selection. He urged the attendees to always submit their manuscripts to relevant journals.
The manuscript training workshop was a tremendous success and from the feedback received from both CIU staff and students, it was a great initiative that should be carried on.
Harry Barry, the ICT Manager at Clarke International University says the workshop helped him realize that writing papers is easier than he thought though the ease comes with experience.
As a result of the new knowledge and skills gained from the training, some of the CIU staff members were highly motivated and decided to challenge themselves by immediately starting to put together papers for publication.
“I have already submitted an abstract to National Council of Higher Education about plagiarism control at CIU and it has been approved, the paper is set to be presented at the end of March 2019,” Githinji elaborated. “I am also working with another team of individuals to put together an abstract to be presented at the African Hepatitis Summit that is due 18th June 2019,” Githinji added.
Clarke International University appreciates the learning opportunity it was presented with by the team from Makerere University. Special thanks go to Florence Nakagwa of CIU, Makerere College of Health Sciences and the HEPI team for their support towards this event. The knowledge received from the workshop was transformative and motivational.