Manuscript writing and publishing are evolving with time and can often be challenging for early career researchers, given the limited availability of platforms for seeking help. That’s why ACS, in partnership with the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, in association with Vigyan Prasar (an autonomous organization under DST), is continuing the popular DST & ACS Workshops of 2019. The group conducted three workshops (one onsite and two pan-India virtual events) in 2020. The free events provide a channel to educate early career researchers on scholarly publishing, peer review, ethics and plagiarism, science communication, and other skills required for career advancement.
These one-day events engaged students, faculty members, industrialists, and directors from various organizations. A multidisciplinary audience took part in the workshops. This scientific diversity continues to be the hallmark of the workshop series.
The sole onsite workshop of 2020 was held in February at the Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, followed by two virtual webinars held in July 2020 and October 2020 through online platforms. More than 5,000 registrants, including about 1,000 ACS members and about 2,000 participants from approximately 1,200 institutes/universities, were a part of these events. The in-person workshop provided an excellent opportunity for early career researchers to network with editorial experts directly. The virtual workshops were made live on the ACS Publications Facebook page and garnered more than 13,000 views. The post reached about 35,000 people in 7 days. During the unprecedented times of the current COVID-19 pandemic, these virtual events have been phenomenal, offering diverse speakers, great content, pan-India outreach at once, and engaging panel discussions.
The workshops featured scientific talks on building effective publishing skills from ACS Editors and Advisory Board members. Speakers also shared their thoughts and vision for various ACS journals. This year, those in attendance at the onsite workshop included Professor Ayan Datta, member of The Journal of Physical Chemistry Editorial Advisory Board, and Professor Jitendra K. Bera, member of Organometallics Editorial Advisory Board. Besides the scientific talks, the attendees learned about the ACS resources, such as ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication, a popular resource for improving scientific writing, now available online, ACS Reviewer Lab, a free online certificate course on peer review, and ChemIDP, a career planning tool for chemical scientists. The onsite activities included sessions like “Title & Abstract Writing,” “Your favorite ACS Article,” and “ACS Quiz 2020,” which were conducted to involve the early career researchers further.
The onsite workshop was followed by the first pan-India virtual workshop held in July 2020 featuring talks by Professors Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary DST & Associate Editor of ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Prashant Kamat, Editor-in-Chief of ACS Energy Letters, D. D. Sharma, Senior Editor of ACS Energy Letters, Dr. Anubhav Saxena, Editorial Advisory Board Member of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) and ACS Publications journals ACS Omega and ACS Chemical Health & Safety.
While the talks on the publication process taught young researchers about the nitty-gritty of writing a manuscript, cover letter, or appeal, the talk on ‘How to Commercialize an Idea’ by Dr. Anubhav Saxena left everyone motivated to think beyond the obvious. Dr. Sarah Tegen, Senior Vice President, Journals Publishing Group, delivered opening remarks, including an overview of ACS Publications’ various programs and outreach activities in India. Dr. Deeksha Gupta, Associate Director-India, Editorial, Society Programs & Services, moderated the event.
This event reached the maximum capacity of a Zoom account. This impressive number of attendees at the first virtual workshop immediately called for the second virtual workshop of the series held in October 2020, featuring Professors Sarbajit Banerjee, Associate Editor of ACS Omega, and Bala Subramaniam, Executive Editor, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. Dr. Daniel T. Kulp, Director, Editorial Development, ACS Publications, set the event in motion with his opening remarks by creating awareness about the ACS’s initiatives for the Indian scientific community. Drs. Dinesh Soares, Senior Managing Editor, ACS Omega, and Rhea Williams, Senior Managing Editor, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, joined the panel discussion with the Editors.
The participants engaged with the editors by posing numerous questions during the panel discussions, underscoring the need for such events for scientists. Researchers had the opportunity to win prizes by submitting their favorite article from the ACS Publications journal portfolio, and the winning entries were chosen as an ‘ACS Editor’s Pick.’ Additionally, a 50% discount for a one-year ACS Membership was offered to participants at the three workshops.
DST & ACS workshops will continue to be organized. The series will feature four workshops in 2021 covering diverse topics, maintaining the excitement around such scientific programs, and continuing the endeavor to help early career researchers advance in their scientific journey.