Journal publication is an important channel of research communication, the final step of the research process. On October 26-30, four EpiMetrics researchers participated in the week-long 17th National Medical Writers Workshop organized by the Philippine Association of Medical Journal Editors with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and the Asia Pacific Medical Editors Association. The workshop featured lectures by esteemed figures in Philippine and Asian medical writing, and facilitators from various esteemed Philippine medical journals. Apart from lectures, participants also workshopped their own manuscripts in small groups, in preparation for future publication. At the end of the week, Dr Steph Co, Christine Ingrid Espinosa, Krizelle Fowler, and Erika Modina, along with their fellow participants from all over the country, outlined their insights and concrete changes they would be making to their manuscripts to make it publication-ready. Dr Steph Co was also among those cited to have the “Most Ready to Publish” manuscripts in their small groups. Specifically, Dr Co belonged to the Public Health group. The annual workshop is an initiative to promote the culture of research publication in the Philippines, and was held online for the first time via Zoom. In previous years, the workshop had been held in various parts of the Philippines, moving closer to writers and researchers from different institutions nationwide.

The EpiMetrics participants share their insights on the workshop below:

Dr Steph Co “The workshop was very informative and helpful in teaching us important lessons and tips on how to publish our journal manuscripts. We felt very lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from such experienced lecturers in journal writing.

I was hesitant and nervous about joining because I was worried about the quality of my manuscript and also about whether I was ready to join this workshop; the kindness of my colleagues and all the mentors put my doubts at ease as it helped to know that I was not alone in all my apprehensions.

The SGD’s were very helpful sessions for in-depth discussions of how to put the lectures into practical use into our individual manuscripts; it was also very helpful to have fresh eyes give thoughtful insight on what were the points of improvement of each of our manuscripts. “

Erika Modina “Attending the training provided a good avenue for us to meet other young researchers in public health, medicine, and the sciences that we would not always have the opportunity to network with on a day-to-day basis. We also got to share our studies with different mentors who motivated us to publish.

At first, I was nervous about presenting my paper in front of my colleagues and mentors, but it gave me the push to finally finish my manuscript because everyone was so supportive. No one was shy sharing their apprehensions in publishing and hindrances while writing. They reiterated that publishing our journal [article]s is also an emotional journey; I felt that they supported us from the beginning to continue through this marathon. The collaborative environment was a breath of fresh air.

This experience made me feel grateful that there are people empowering the youth to publish. They are continuously paving the way for us to learn and take this on, and it is inspiring us to do the same with our fellow researchers. “

Krizelle Fowler “It’s nice that the content was very well-prepared. There was no dead air during the training.

I also appreciate the value of the SGDs. It was said that it was their old practice to only choose one topic per domain. Now, everyone had a chance to get comments for their manuscript.

It’s motivating to see that they believe in young writers like us. Despite our own shortcomings, they encourage us to submit to well-known journals and not be consumed by fear of rejection.

It’s good that rejection was also not treated as taboo during the lecture, but as a learning experience for everyone.”

Ingrid Espinosa “Having worked with colleagues with some publishing experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what else there was to learn about writing for publication. I especially wasn’t excited about the week-long nightly schedule of the workshop. I was pleasantly surprised then to hear all the advice the PAMJE speakers had for every step of the publication process. They clearly have a wealth of experience, and I appreciate that they choose to proactively share it with the medical research community in the Philippines. I see this as testament to the small but strong research field in the country and I appreciate that spirit of support and growth.

Some of the tips I found most practical and valuable were to know one’s audience (of the target journal) to inform your writing expectations, persist in editing and submitting, and make sure to include writing to publish in the research process. Otherwise, writing will be frustrating, and it may be procrastinated or delayed forever; what a missed opportunity for sharing the hard work of research you’ve already done anyway! Who knows, your insights may be just be something other researchers or policymakers need later on.

Finally, one of my biggest insights are that mentors are valuable, as are opportunities to meet them. I think the sharing of both technical advice and emotional support are valuable for the growth of research and encouragement of researchers. Fortunately, the Philippines has that pool of passionate people; I am grateful for the chance to have learned from them, along with my cohort of co-participants.”