Scientific Writing & Publishing for PhD students

Scientific Writing & Publishing for PhD students

communication skills

Online course

Start date:

01 September 2020


1 September 2020, 11h-12h

8 September 2020, 11h-13h

15 September 2020, 11h-13h

22 September 2020, 11h-13h

29 September 2020, 11h-12h

General context

This training wants to help researchers navigate their way through the publication process. Topics that will be addressed are:


A chance to consider why you might want to publish in peer reviewed journals. (Presentation, discussion in pairs and the whole group.)

Writing style

Guidance on the writing style needed for research papers. (Presentation, discussion, exercise rewriting sample sentences.)

The writing process

Overview of the process of writing, including techniques for getting motivated, getting into the habit of writing and getting feedback. (Presentation and discussion.)

The structure of the paper

The usual structure of research papers and common variations. (Presentation, discussion, exercise analysing a paper.)

Title and abstract

Guidance on writing titles and abstracts and avoiding common errors, and a chance to write your own abstract and get feedback on it. (Presentation, analysis exercise, writing exercise, one-to-one coaching.)

Choosing a journal

The criteria to think about when choosing a journal, such as scope, audience, speed of review and publication, open access options, impact metrics, charges. (Presentation, discussion and exercise investigating websites of journals you might submit to.)

The peer review process: before, during and after

Presentation with questions on negotiating the peer review process, responding to decisions including rejection, and what to do when your paper is accepted and published, particularly publicising it.

Publicising your paper

Why publicising is necessary and the different ways to do it, including social media. (Presentation and discussion.)


To learn how to produce clear, well written and well-structured research papers; to gain insights into how to get a paper published in a journal; to make a start on an abstract for your own paper.


This online workshop is a combination of presentations, discussions and exercises. During the course,  you will be writing an abstract for your next paper, and during the first online session you will be making a start on this, so please think about what results your paper will report and what conclusions you will draw from them (the results can be preliminary or made up if you do not yet have enough data to draw strong conclusions). Each week you will get the opportunity to work together in small groups outside of the main video sessions. In each session we will discuss the material from the previous week and introduce that for the next week, and in some cases do or start an exercise. 

You will get access to the Moodle server of Cofactor. Materials will include:

  • Videos of recorded presentations
  • Handouts supporting the presentations
  • Exercises
  • Discussion forums
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge
Event intended for

PhD students at VIB who are interested in developing strong scientific writing skills, to improve their chance of publishing in high-impact factor journals. There are also sessions scheduled for postdocs and staff scientists. Please check our website.

Extra information
  • Registration is only open for VIB participants and is free.
  •  Note that upon no show without valid justification a fee of € 100 will be charged and you will be blacklisted for the VIB training program for 1 year. Click here for more information.


Anna Sharman, Cofactor

This course was designed and developed by Anna Sharman PhD, an experienced researcher trainer who has been a biology postdoc, an in-house journal editor and a scientific publishing consultant and now runs Cofactor, a scientific training and consultancy company. The course will be run by two expert Cofactor trainers. They can give insider insights into how to write and publish scientific journal papers most effectively.



Video session.

Week 1 assignment: having a 'writing group' when participants get together online (or possibly in person) and keep each other accountable while writing non-stop for a short period of time.


Video session.

Week 2 assignment: after writing your own abstract, sharing it with two others and each giving the other two feedback on their abstract


Video session.

Week 3 assignment: working together to summarise the pros and cons of submitting to a small number of journals


Video session.

Week 4 assignment: acting as the editors of a new virtual journal and having an editorial board meeting to take decisions on papers.


Video session.