Drs. Amanda Gilbertson and Alex Davis shared their experiences navigating the publishing process as an early career researcher at the Aii’s New Generation Network Retreat on Monday 5 March.
Dr Davis emphasised the importance of networking and relationship building to improve productivity when it comes to publishing.
“The main thing that’s enabled me to be productive is finding a series of co-authors.”
He said that, despite being not the best networker, turning conversations at conferences and events into productive working relationships has been crucial to his ability to publish regularly.
Dr Gilbertson focused on strategies for dealing with the pressure to publish.
For her, she said, the attraction of finite administrative tasks can become a tempting distraction from the sometimes opaque process of writing.
“I find myself doing everything else really efficiently, but actually making the time for writing can be a challenge.”
She said that scheduling time for writing has been critical to keep herself focused and producing work.
One common challenge was dealing with a difficult academic peer-review.
For Dr Davis, responding to criticism in an honest and genuine fashion is important when writing a response.
“It’s really important that you are kind and understanding and patient – even if the reviewers aren’t,” he said.
Prof. Craig Jeffrey, Director of the Aii, echoed that statement, suggesting researchers should “never criticise the referees,” in case it gives an editor the opportunity to reject their paper.
Dr Gilbertson said meaningfully engaging with critical reviews has helped her improve as a writer. In the face of tough criticism, she suggested resisting the temptation to take the paper elsewhere.
“Don’t go to another journal, but take the opportunity to improve.”
The New Generation Network scholars are a network of post-doctoral researchers working in a coordinated effort to deliver policy-relevant research on contemporary India.