Mumbai: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) partnered with Cactus Communications, a global scholarly, medical communications and technology solutions company, to offer training to budding researchers in scientific writing. Founded in 2002, CACTUS has helped over 345,000 researchers, doctors and scientists publish about one million papers across 173 countries.
Though India ranks fifth by volumes in global research, the way this research is written can become an important factor when it is being evaluated by top notch journals. With the upcoming New Education Policy (NEP) aiming to focus on research, there is a great need to include training in communicating this research, focusing on writing skills that are missing from the standard school and college curriculum in India.
Abhishek Goel, CEO & Co-Founder Cactus Communications, said: “We strongly feel that papers by Indian researchers should be able to make an impact globally, and we see a need for training in scientific writing in universities in India. It is our privilege to be invited by TIFR for the second time in a row to offer our expertise to the students, who are highly engaged. We look forward to seeing their work in the years to come.”
A total of 61 TIFR students benefited from the course this year, which will equip them with knowledge on the essentials of scientific writing, lacunae in which, may delay the publication of important findings. Modules included conventions in academic writing, manuscript structure, publication ethics, and the finer points of grammar. The course participants had the opportunity to practice what they learnt through a series of writing assignments and benefited from customised feedback from professionals in science communication.
ShubhaTole, Senior Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, TIFR, said, “ Many of our students often come from small towns or remote areas with only a partial fluency in English, which is the language of science today. Even students from large cities, who may be more fluent in English, may not have had a rigorous training in structured writing, since the mainstream school and college curriculum does not equip students with adequate writing skills. When students begin their research training, it is essential that they be trained in parallel to structure their arguments, to express their thoughts in a logical sequence that has structure and flow, in addition to basic grammar and sentence formation. Our experience with CACTUS has been very positive. They took special care to adjust their training package to suit our specific needs, and improve the course from year to year. The feedback from the students has been positive as well and we look forward to seeing how this training contributes to their overall growth as researchers.