We invited cancer researchers at all levels to write a blog post about working in cancer research for The Cancer Researcher-EACR Science Communication Prize 2018. We received a huge number of great and original entries from researchers in countries across the world!
We’re delighted to announce that the winner of the The Cancer Researcher-EACR Science Communication Prize 2018 is Dr. Ricky Trigg for his blog post ‘The Journey to Publication’. Professor Alberto Bardelli, EACR President, commented “It’s great that so many cancer researchers are interested in communicating about what they do. I congratulate Dr. Ricky Trigg on winning the first Cancer Researcher-EACR Science Communication Prize, with a well-crafted and original blog post about a topic that occupies many scientists’ thoughts.”
You can read the winning entry below, and we’ll also publish our shortlisted entries over the next few weeks.
The Journey to Publication
This is the sort of material you may come across when Googling the journey to scientific publication from an experienced perspective:
“You’ve finished a lengthy stint of lab work, amassed a compelling story and are ready to publish. With the hard work over and morale running high, all that’s left is to find an esteemed journal in which to publish. To the often-naïve first-time author, the publication process may indeed seem this linear and straightforward; after all, why would any half-decent journal not want to publish a sound piece of work?
In reality, generating data is often only the beginning of a long, cyclic journey to publication, filled with bureaucracy, criticism, rejection and self-doubt. What’s more, if you want to stay afloat in the ever-expanding ocean of academic knowledge, you’d better be prepared to repeat this journey over and over – publish or perish, as the old saying goes.”
I can’t be the only one to find this material demoralising.
As an early postdoctoral researcher, I have limited experience of publishing my work. Though I have been guided through much of the process by my supervisors, I have seen first-hand how daunting it can feel to submit work for publication and await the verdict. Nevertheless, there seems to be a set of common principles that govern the journey to publication and maximise the chances of success. I wrote the following poem, ‘PUBLISH!’, to summarise these principles from my own perspective. I hope it serves as a useful and inspirational resource for those in a similar position to myself where the publication process can seem obscure and overwhelming.
P…is for perseverance; through thick and thin,
and there’s no use in searching, for it comes from within.
U…is for understanding that despite your best try,
you may face rejections without clear reasons why.
B…is for believing your work will stand out from the crowd.
What’s the point in publishing if it doesn’t make you proud?
L…is for learning the ways of peer review,
and realising that criticism shouldn’t feel personal to you.
I…is for integrity, being honest and true;
retracted papers are not things to accrue.
S…is for strategy. Look at a journal’s aims and scope.
Would your paper attract the audience that you’d hope?
H…is for humility, an often-overlooked trait.
Overestimating your achievements can sometimes seal your fate.
!…is for “Finally, my paper’s been accepted!”
“I’ve lost count of how many times it was corrected!”
About the Winner
Ricky Trigg is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge. He is currently investigating resistance mechanisms to targeted compounds and novel therapeutic strategies in neuroblastoma using CRISPR/Cas9 technology and high-throughput compound screening. Ricky has been an EACR member for 6 years.