Year : 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 437-439

Write a Scientific Paper course – Utility or otherwise?

1 Department of Paediatrics, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta
2 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, Msida, Malta
3 College of Medicine, King Saud University Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Sarah Cuschieri
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, Msida
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.sja_512_22

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Background: Publish or perish is a cliched mantra but publishing requires the acquisition of a wide set of disparate skills that are typically learned in a completely ad-hoc manner in an early period of one's career. The Write a Scientific Paper (WASP) course is delivered online by an experienced, international faculty of academics, including several medical journal editors. This study retrospectively analyzed the attendees' perceptions of the usefulness and the utility of WASP. Methods: An email questionnaire of 11 questions was sent to all previous WASP attendees, 370 subjects, in May 2022. The questions included the geographical locations of the subjects as well as the number of published articles before and since WASP course. Besides a couple of questions on rating and recommending the WASP course, some other related questions were also asked. Results: There were 68 responses (18%) with high agreement (Cronbach α = 0.92). The WASP course fared well across the different research-oriented dimensions and expectations and is mostly welcomed by young career professionals. Following WASP, a 9% increase in scientific writing and published articles engagement was reported. Discussion: WASP is an international and unique course that emphasises presentation skills using newspaper media theory. It highlights to the delegates the importance of understanding the conflicting tripod of forces that govern publishing. Authors wish to publish more; readers are inundated, wishing to read less, whereas journal editors' primary aims are to elevate their journals' impact factors. WASP endorsements and the testimonials are invariably positive. The transition to online barely affected satisfaction rates with WASP while permitting the enrolment of a more international faculty that includes even more journal editors. WASP's ultimate objective is to impart the faculty's collective experience to the delegates in this crucial, early aspect of career progress.

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