Writing Workshop for Junior Researchers

Writing Workshop for Junior Researchers


The ability to write well is critical in the professional life of statisticians. Research can only be valued when it is communicated to other researchers, and this is done broadly through peer-reviewed publications. An inability to write well can hinder publication of a researcher’s results. This in turn slows the research process (and the researcher’s career!) since others are not aware of these results.

Knowing how to write for a journal involves understanding how the discourse is organized in a technical publication.  Writing articulately accelerates the publication process by obviating the need for excessive revisions and by speeding the reviewing and editorial processes. Preparing grant proposals may be another major part of a researcher’s life that also demands good writing. The highly competitive nature of funding means that communicating one’s ideas clearly is critical for obtaining an award. Excellent research ideas are not enough if reviewers must struggle to figure out what is being proposed.


From 2007 to 2016, NISS has organized successful technical writing workshops for junior researchers in statistics, biostatistics and data science.  In fact, many of workshop graduates have become associate editors of major statistical and biostatistical journals, (with at least 23 associate editorships and one co-editorship among 109 recent graduates!)


The workshop includes presentations by senior statisticians, past editors for major journals, previous funding agency program directors and study section members experienced in grants preparation and grants review. They will share their experience with you regarding journal-specific issues and funding-agency expectations.  
But the most valuable aspect of the workshop is the one-on-one editorial consultation for each participant. In advance of the workshop, each new researcher must submit a working paper intended for publication or for grant submission. Based on this work, the new researcher will be matched with a mentor (one of the cadre of senior statisticians) who will bring to the workshop a constructive review of this working paper. So, if you are working on something, why not take advantage of this experience and expertise!


The 2018 NISS writing workshop at JSM consists of two parts. 

The first session will begin Sunday morning and run until the middle of the afternoon.  This session covers scientific writing as well as how to organize a paper. Ethical issues will also be discussed in addition to special considerations in writing grant proposals, issues of journal choice, and understanding and responding to reviewer comments  At the end of this session, each participant meets with the assigned mentor who has reviewed and critiqued the participant’s working paper. 
The second (and final) session will be Tuesday morning and will focus on specific issues for participants whose native language is not English, covering the writing process and details of grammar, sentence structure, and word choice.  Then, senior researchers whose native language is not English talk about their experiences with technical writing in English with time allowed for open discussion.


Participants will be chosen from the applicant pool based on applications (including writing sample / working paper) submitted to NISS/ASA. Eligible applicants for the Writing Workshop are faculty and postdocs who have received their Ph.D. in statistics, biostatistics, or a related field in 2010 or later. Priority will be given to researchers who are 0-3 years post Ph.D. and to members of the professional societies supporting the workshop.

Want more information?  Click now to Apply / Register! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 by Glenn Johnson