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WORKSHOP: Ifakara’s Data Science team sharpens paper writing skills

April 28, 2023 9:00hrs
WORKSHOP: Ifakara’s Data Science team sharpens paper writing skills
Dr. Amelia Bertozzi-Villa, Disease Modeler at the Gates Foundation's Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) elaborating a point during the paper writing workshop held in Dar. PHOTO|IFAKARA/KMC

Members of the Data Science team at Ifakara Health Institute participate in an intensive Paper Writing workshop hosted by Dr. Amelia Bertozzi-Villa – a disease modeler from the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) at the Gates Foundation.

The workshop focused on equipping participants with improved techniques for writing scientific manuscript drafts by giving them a solid basis in the principles, process, and culture of scientific paper writing. The special training was scheduled to last four weeks (April 4-28, 2023) and took place at Ifakara Health Institute’s Dar es Salaam Office.

Ahead of the workshop, Dr. Amelia said, “Over the course of the month, attendees will be working on crafting their own manuscript from a completed analysis, if they have one, or crafting a “mock” manuscript using hypothetical results from an ongoing analysis.”

“It is beyond the scope of this workshop to expect a ready-to-submit manuscript from all participants, but this month should provide important framing and resources,” she added.

The scope of the workshop included training attendees to identify a journal of interest; assess whether a given analysis is appropriate for a single paper or requires either additional work or sub-setting into multiple manuscripts; and identify several different potential framings for a given analysis.

The modules also include: understanding the purpose and format of each major section of a standard scientific paper; writing a strong outline for each of these sections; sketching or wireframe figures to accompany the papers and; understanding the process of paper submission, including formatting, cover letters, responding to reviewers, authorship and authorship order, conflicts of interest.

In the final week of the workshop, all attendees participated in a collaborative review whereby they read and reviewed each other’s work and shared constructive feedback.

At the end of the workshop, one of the participants, Victor Maro, a Data Scientist at Ifakara said, “The feedback we received from the participants was overwhelmingly positive. They found the workshop to be very helpful and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to develop their writing skills in this area.”

Dr. Amelia is expected to continue providing support to the Ifakara Data Science team pertaining to paper writing even after the completion of the one-month workshop. Her relationship with the Data Science team goes way back to when she first made a visit to the Institute last year in November.

During the visit, Ifakara Health Institute scientist, Dr. Samson Kiware, hosted Dr. Amelia for a knowledge-sharing session during a Spatial Analysis workshop in Dar es Salaam. Her visit marked the first of many collaborative knowledge-sharing visits between IDM and Ifakara.