Are you a student or early career faculty worried about a low publication record? This thread contains my advice for increasing your writing efficiency. I invite anyone to add to it to make it a useful crowd-sourced resource for anyone just starting out! Here goes! 1/x
About me: I had to turn around a slow start w writing productivity. My first pub hit 3 years post grad school in 2003. Yikes. I am now a tenured professor w 191 papers and NIH funding, so this slow start didn't mean I was doomed. You are not doomed either! 2/x
The problem for me wasn't that I didn't have projects to work on. It was 1) I did not have adequate training in manuscript writing and 2) papers were getting stuck in log jams. I will address both. 3/x
In terms of inadequate training, 2 things helped. 1) A peer worked closely with me on manuscript structure, 2) I found studies with similar design and methods in the target journal to use as models--I always start with a model paper. 4/x
I have since composed a manuscript writing guide for my students so they don't feel as lost as I did. Feel free to use it:… 5/x
In terms of log jams, I identified the people and scenarios that caused log jams and got involved in projects that were not held up by those people and scenarios. This way even if some stuff is held up, other stuff is still moving forward. Also... 6/x
I made a list of papers from closest to furthest from readiness to submit. Then I focused on one paper at a time. The alternative is moving multiple papers simultaneously forward by small increments. This slows progress on all of them. 7/x
Another way to prioritize papers is in order of which you have the most control over. If a paper is dependent on multiple busy people it’s likely to move slower. 8/x
If papers get stuck on a mentor's desk, pin them down to a specific time to review it. Even if it’s a month away, this is good info for planning purposes. If your mentor can't read the paper until end of Sept, maybe shift attention in Sept to one that is moving faster. 9/x
If a mentor’s desk is a black hole (ughhhh), find additional writing opportunities outside of him/her. Junior faculty, post docs, and senior grad students are less likely to be black holes (yay!), offer to collaborate on their projects. 10/x
Keep in mind, senior people may prioritize papers differently. For ex, they may need to table all papers that have nothing to do with their next grant application because they need to focus on data that will help make the case for that grant. 11/x
I then found a few eager peers and created a writing group. It worked such that each member took the lead on a writing project with all members assisting on all projects. The result is 5 members=5 papers for everybody in the time it takes one person to write one paper. 12/x
Our writing group met weekly to discuss progress and troubleshoot each paper. It’s ideal if the group has a wide range skills and expertise. @DrKrisSchneider @DrMattWhited were 2 of my awesome writing group members! 13/x
Also: Bring students junior to you into the process to help. Delegate tasks like putting together shell tables, lit review, references, etc to them. This is a great training experience. 14/x
Also: don't be a first author hog. I hit a point where I was the one holding up papers because I wanted to lead more than I could handle. By relinquishing the lead, those papers got out, thankfully. 15/x
Finally, don’t write a paper just to write a paper. Each should grow your research program. Random projects won’t advance your career but could instead make you appear unfocused. The #1 reason to get your work pub'ed in a timely manner is to advance the science. 16/x
The thread as promised! @3rdcultureme @Epi_D_Nique @kalvarezphd
Have to credit @DrMollyWaring for adding her brilliance to the manuscript writing guide as well.

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More from @DrSherryPagoto

Dec 17, 2021
The usefulness of GRE and GPA for grad school entry is heavily debated for good reason. Poor predictors of success!

I find that the most important characteristic of a candidate is actually none of these. It is COACHABILITY.

Here is why and what coachability is and isn’t. 1/x
Why coachability? People who are coachable easily overcome lack of experience simply because they are so highly motivated to learn.

Hands down, I would rather someone who is highly coachable with meh GRE scores than someone who is meh coachable and stellar GRE. 2/x
One characteristic of a coachable person is they are 100% aware that they don’t know what they don’t know. In other words, they are aware they have blind spots and are highly motivated to fill in those blind spots. 3/x
Read 18 tweets
Sep 27, 2021
I teach a grad course on clinical trial methodology for behavioral interventions.

If this is a topic you’d like to learn more about, here are the main take homes from my class (with recommended readings!) in a thread! 🧵

Here goes! 1/x
First, you must understand the phases of behavioral intervention development and testing. I can’t tell you how much I see these phases confused in grant applications and papers.

The ORBIT model is a fantastic resource delineating the phases:…

Next, intervention development starts with a conceptual model that delineates the key drivers of the behavior you are targeting. To understand those drivers, your assignment is to delve into the basic behavioral science and observational study literature on the topic. 3/x
Read 15 tweets
Aug 18, 2020
Teaching online this Fall?

To learn how we can make Fall semester better, we asked students (n=60) what professors did when spring courses went online that showed they CARE about their students.

Here's what they said....

(full report coming soon!)


A very popular response was professor accessibility via frequent office hours and email made students feel cared for. Quick responses and lots of opportunities to connect were very appreciated. 2/x
Next, students appreciated professor flexibility and relaxing of certain course policies (e.g., grading, deadlines, test taking procedures). Being at home made their schedules more chaotic and brought up new challenges. Flexibility helped make it work and eased the stress. 3/x
Read 9 tweets
Jul 11, 2020
College students return to campus in a few weeks. We wanted to know their thoughts about quarantine, symptom tracking, contact tracing, and mask wearing on campus, so my grad student @laurie_groshon and I did focus groups to find out.

Here’s what students told us

First, we asked them about the required 14 day quarantine before the semester starts. Every student we asked said that this is not realistic and will likely fail. 😳

They pointed out that students are eager to see each other and will find a way to do so when they arrive on campus. They said that students who live 1-2 hours away will try to find a way to go home. They said off campus students will likely find their way on campus. 😬

Read 26 tweets
Jul 1, 2020
I’m seeing a lot of talk about the role of “personal responsibility” in behavior (& behavioral interventions).

The idea is that if people just took more “responsibility” they would be doing the things we think they should be doing.

This thinking is a dead end.

A thread

If a person exercises regularly or wears a mask, one might conclude this person has taken “personal responsibility.” But personal responsibility doesn’t actually explain ❓why❓ a behavior has occurred.

It is simply a subjective judgment about one’s character.

To gain an understanding of why a behavior is occurring we instead need to examine the contextual factors that cue and reinforce the behavior for that individual, both at present and in their past.

Read 16 tweets
Apr 1, 2020
A THREAD (AND AN OFFER!) for front line doc and nurse researchers! 😷🩺🩹

FRONT LINERS: Was your plan to submit an NIH grant interrupted by #covid19?

We want to help YOU for helping us. 🙏1/x
We appreciate your 100% clinic commitment 💜and want to help the research stay alive! 💪

THE DEAL: A team of NIH-funded researchers has offered to provide volunteer peer reviews of your R or K proposal drafts you intended (or still intend) to submit on the next NIH deadline. 2/x
How will this work?

I will match you and your proposal to a volunteer reviewer who will give you comments and feedback just like an NIH reviewer would. 3/x
Read 12 tweets

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