Posted in Recap

Recap: #ECRchat 12th June 2014 on Publishing as an ECR

The topic of this discussion was Publishing as an ECR, led by Claire Evans

Publishing’ regularly crops up in #ECRchats so I thought it might be useful to have a chat dedicated entirely to this topic and the idea paid off as it turned out to be a very lively discussion. You can revisit the chat in this storify, but to recap the main highlights:

Q1: When to publish? What are the advantages/disadvantages of publishing during a PhD versus after a PhD?

• One of the main disadvantages discussed was the time it takes to publish, but advantages included having support of your supervisor, feedback and career development.

Q2: How do you select a journal? What should you consider?

• Tips included checking the scope of the journal and previous editions. This includes metrics of the journal, such as, but not limited to, impact.

• Also, use articles that you have referenced as a guide.

Is open access something that should concern me as an ECR?

• Open access should be considered, especially in the UK, but the cost may need to be factored into any research plans.

“publishing is entering a scholarly conversation”

Q3: What are editors/reviewers looking for in a journal article?

Q4: Those with experience of publishing, how long has the process taken and is there anything you would have like to have known beforehand?

• The main thing learned about publishing is that it takes longer than expected. Usually up to 2 years from submission of abstract to final publication.

• Variable reviewer comments, but more often than not constructive.

• Reviewers in the chat reminded us that papers are reviewed in with good will and as part of the civic academic service, so it’s not surprising the process takes so long.

Q5/6: Future plans for publishing? Any further questions?

• Further questions linked to gaps in the chat, such as writing a book and further information about open access.

• Finally everyone shared their own plans for publishing.

Host biography:

This chat was hosted by Dr Claire Evans (@bookworm_29), who is currently an independent researcher working as an Associate Lecturer for The Open University in Wales.

Posted in Professional development and Identity, Recap, The job search

Recap: #ECRchat 29th May 2014 on Building and maintaining networks

The topic of this discussion was Building and maintaining networks as an ECR, led by Dr Lizzie Towl, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ.

Building and Maintaining Networks

In the current research environment, it seems that “who you know” is becoming as important as “what you know.” Those special opportunities that might make the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful job or funding application are often only accessible through networks. Networks are also very important for less material forms of support, too, and for finding out about the unwritten rules of research and academia. In this week’s ECR chat we discussed building, managing and maintaining networks. You can catch up with the chatter in this Storify.

Host Biography

By day, Dr Lizzie Towl assists PhD students with their professional development and research skills at Victoria University of Wellington, NZ; by night, she conducts research into Middle English literature and manuscripts. She aims to swap the two occupations around someday soon.

The next chat is on Thursday 12th June, UK/Aus timezones, hosted by Claire (@bookworm_29) on Publishing as an ECR.

Posted in Professional development and Identity, Recap, Support and healthy working

Recap: Communicating science to the public and media, #ECRchat and @RiAus, 1 May 2014

For this event we teamed up with ECR Network by RiAus (@RiAus) an Adelaide-based series of ECR-specific events, covering professional development and career topics specifically for early career researchers.

Professional science communicators from RiAus and the Australian Science Media Centre reveal why it is important for researchers and research leaders especially, to engage the public and the media. How can you use public engagement and the media to benefit your career, and how do you best engage them? Professor Corey Bradshaw from University of Adelaide gives the researcher’s perspective and how his public engagement assisted his career progression. Be recognised as the expert.

You can watch the live discussion here:

Part 1

Part 2


Posted in Professional development and Identity, Recap

Recap: #ECRchat 12 Dec 2013 “The Experts Ask Us” – Issues of reward and recognition for early career researchers

This #ECRchat was a special “The Experts Ask Us” chat, guest hosted by the Academy of Medical Sciences, in the style of an online focus group. If your organisation is interested in hosting a similar chat, please email us.

What challenges do researchers experience in ‘team science’ projects? Are there barriers that discourage early career researchers even getting involved? If so, what are they and are they the same across different disciplines and countries? This #ECRchat, hosted by Nigel Eady @naje99 and Holly Rogers @acmedsci of the Academy of Medical Sciences on 12 December 2013, discussed these issues and more.

So what did we learn? Here are the headlines:

  1. Putting together an effective team is a key skill.
  2. Every skill in a team needs to be valued.
  3. Roles, responsibility and reward need to be agreed up front.
  4. Authorship of publications is a battleground!

This #ECRchat formed part of the scoping phase for an Academy working group study on ‘team science’ which will launch in April 2014. The final report, with recommendations, will be published around spring 2015. Further details will appear online. It is a follow up to a previous discussion paper:

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the #ECRchat. Do you recognise these issues?

  1. Putting together an effective team is a key skill.

A number of researchers said that finding good collaborators was a big challenge. You need to learn the skills of building collaborations and facilitating them effectively as early in your career as possible. Some principal investigators are very resistant to their research teams spending time exploring partnerships which don’t appear to be directly relevant to their core research. So how can you develop the skills you need?

  1. Every skill in a team needs to be valued.

Clearly team projects require a range of skills. A number of researchers reported that certain skills are perceived to be less important or are viewed as ‘number crunching’, and therefore deemed to require less skill and deserve less recognition. The individuals who deliver these supposed ‘service delivery’ roles end up feeling extremely marginalised but are continually expected to work faster and better! “Surely what you do is easy!” The skills mentioned in this regard included medical statistics, qualitative research and computational biology.

  1. Roles, responsibility and reward need to be agreed up front.

It’s vital not to give lots of your time before you’ve agreed what recognition you’ll get for it! Discuss some ‘ground rules’ at the start of the project, especially if you’re doing all the hard work behind the scenes, for example, the grant administration and ethics approval.

  1. Authorship of publications is a battleground!

Unsurprisingly the lack of value attributed to some skills also plays out when it comes to authorship of papers. Shared first authorship was felt not to work! But what factors should determine the order of authorship? Who did the work, who was awarded the funds, who wrote the paper…? Author contribution statements were felt to be a move in the right direction, especially as amongst diverse disciplines authorship conventions vary significantly (e.g. if you compare maths, bioscience and social science). Physics was perceived to be a more collaborative discipline with open access data and alphabetical authorship of papers.

Here is a storify with all the tweets. One participant highlighted an interesting systematic review on the promotors, barriers, and ways to enhance multidisciplinary teamwork.

The Academy is very grateful for this chance to host an #ECRchat and will post updates on our ‘team science’ policy project as it develops. In the meantime, any more comments, questions and ideas can be emailed to

Posted in Collegiality, Professional development and Identity, Recap, Support and healthy working, Uncategorized

Recap: #ECRchat on “Issues for ECRs in a minority group”

This week’s chat was on Issues for ECRs in a minority group and was hosted by Dr Beth Hellen.

We had an interesting chat about issues for people in minority groups, mostly focusing on women, people with disabilities and LGBT people due to the expertise of the tweeters who were present.  Topic included departmental diversity, barriers to careers and conference access and schemes to help combat these.  Although we only really scratched the surface, most people came away with a few new thoughts about the issues, so it was fairly successful.

See the storify for a more in depth round up.

The last question asked was whether we at @ECRchat can do anything to make the chats more inclusive.  If you have any ideas regarding this, please get in touch.