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Spreading scientific temper through workshop on ‘ABC of Scientific Writing’

Science communication is gaining momentum in response to the need for inculcating scientific temperament among the general public due to events of climate change, the emergence of outbreaks like COVID-19, and rapid expansion of science in the present days. This has called for improvement in scientific writing particularly for the masters and Ph.D. students along with early-career researchers. Presence of predatory journals, ethical issues, and retraction of articles are also rising continuously in the scientific sector and many of them are due to sheer ignorance. Contribution of Indian publications in science is estimated at not greater than 2% of global ideas to science. With the aim of improving our science communication, Krishi Vigyan Kendra Cuttack, a unit of ICAR-National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, organized an online workshop on “ABC of Scientific Writing” for upgrading knowledge base of early career researchers and academicians from July 22 to August 5, 2020. About 330 participants, representing 24 states of India, ranging from intermediate students to the rank of principal scientists actively participated in the program. Specifically, the participants were from 165 institutions across the country involving National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, College of Veterinary and Animal Science, Parbhani, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Kolkata,  National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack and all deemed to be universities of ICAR, University of Delhi, Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar and many others participated in this workshop.

The workshop focused on giving a comprehensive view to the researchers with lectures on ‘why’ writing to ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ aspects of writing. It also covered issues that commonly arise in the publication process such as authorship, publication ethics, plagiarism, retraction, and conflict of interest. In addition, writing and editing a paper, how to select a journal, what an editor expects from an author along with familiarization with journals and publishing platforms were discussed in detail within the program. Furthermore, real-time live demonstration of critical skills on searching, reference management, manuscript formatting, online researcher tools, etc. made the program unique, practical, and one-of-a-kind of the workshop in India. Early career funding opportunities were also discussed with sharing of experience by learned and renowned guest faculty namely Dr H Pathak from NIASM, Baramati, Dr D Maiti and Dr AK Nayak from NRRI, Cuttack, Dr TK Datta and Dr TK Mohanty from NDRI, Karnal, Dr AK Pattanaik from IVRI, Izatnagar, Dr AK Panda from KIIT, Bhubaneswar and Dr MS Mahesh from Kemin Industries, Chennai along with the organizing secretary of the workshop Dr RK Mohanta from KVK, NRRI, Cuttack.

The workshop was added with a recapitulation session every day with two voluntary participants prior to starting of day’s proceeding. Other exciting features were devoting adequate time for question and answer sessions, practical demonstrations on tips and metrics, assignments on profile creation and journal metrics, quizzes, provision of materials for further reading regularly after the session, and a special doubt-clearing class for young scholars. About 130- 220 participants attended each class with an average of 177 throughout the workshop. The workshop was concluded in the presence of Dr H Pathak, Director, National Institute for Abiotic Stress Management, Baramati—an eminent climatologist and excellent statesman—advised the participants to go ahead with full fervor and vigor in science. In his concluding remarks, Dr D Maiti wished all to implement their knowledge and skill learned in the program to their fullest potential. Dr. GAK Kumar, Head, Social Science Division, Dr DR Sarangi, officer-in-charge, KVK Cuttack and the whole KVK staff advised and coordinated well for the success of the workshop. It ended with positive feedback from all the participants with take away messages to implement what they learned and vowed to come back to career with unending zeal and enthusiasm to mark their strong footprint in Indian science.