Presentation on theme: "Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Class 4 27.11.2006 Proposal Writing & The Refereeing Process."— Presentation transcript:
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Class Proposal Writing & The Refereeing Process
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 The Refereeing Process
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Contents Introduction Peer review process Journals Conferences Research programmes The tasks of a referee Reviewing a research paper Preparing the referee report & recommendations Evaluating a research proposal Acting as an editor or program chairperson How to become a referee? Final words
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Disclaimer There is no fixed mechanism for refereeing There are simple rules that help transforming a review in a constructive document In time you will develop your own style of refereeing
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Introduction A scientific paper is expected to provide a sufficient contribution to the knowledge base of its field Number of scientific papers and articles (2000): > (ISI) About 50% in the fields of science and technology The number of papers and articles submitted for publication is much larger refereeing process selects the ones to be published Examples of acceptance rates after refereeing: Journals: ~10-20% (large variance) Conferences: ~10-50% Workshops: ~30%-90% Refereeing is also used in selecting research projects to be funded
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Introduction What is a sufficient contribution? new result, theoretical or experimental new insight novel synthesis of ideas useful survey useful tutorial What is not a sufficient contribution badly written erroneous data MPI = Minimum Publishable Increment depends on the forum
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Peer review process Peer reviews are carried out by anonymous referees who evaluate the sufficiency of contribution novelty, significance, correctness, readability Refereeing is public service to the scientific community professional obligation, carried out on volunteer basis requires high expertise helps in improving one’s own expertise ensures the integrity of science
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Peer review process of a journal editor associate editors author referees accept reject revise submission reviews recommendations selection of referees checking of revised papers publish selection of associate editor
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Peer review process of a conference program chair program committee author referees accept/ reject/ accept with revisions submission accept/reject/minor revision recommendations selection of the referees checking of revisions extra referees
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Peer review process of a workshop program chair program committee author extra referees accept/ reject submit refereeing checking of revisions
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Peer review process of a research programme steering committee proposer referees accept with partial funding/ reject submission Notice: not representative of all research programmes
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 The tasks of a referee The reviewer grades a paper based on its novelty, significance,correctness, and readability In case of substantial conflicts of interest or if the paper is out of the field of the reviewer, the editor must be informed promptly Both positive and negative findings are summarized in a referee report Confidential part only for the editor/program committee: Information that could reveal the identity of the reviewer or in minor conflicts of interest non-confidential part for the author/program committee Learn from the other reviews, if they are sent to you after the process
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Why do it? Several reasons Enhance reputation (with editor/prog. committee) Expedites processing of your own papers Get on editorial board or program committee Good practice Increase your own critical appraisal ability Your papers become better Sometimes it gets preferential treatment for your papers … but refereeing means more work!
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Consideration Most reviews have strict deadlines By agreeing to review you take the responsibility of doing a thorough job If you cannot commit to this, notify the editor asap Editors understand you may not have the time, but are unforgiving if you commit and do a poor job Good editors keep a list …
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 The right attitude: I can learn something! Humbleness and an open mind needed; 100% self- confidence can be harmful Early assumptions on the correctness of the paper or the sufficiency of its references should be avoided an elegantly written paper may have zero actual contribution a paper with broken English may contain a major new idea The papers recommended for acceptance should have novelty and be correct If the reviewer can’t check a fact or is unsure, this should be stated in the review report But don’t waste your time on analysing in detail a paper that is never publishable a single crucial error is enough
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Reviewing a research paper The paper to be reviewed is typically accompanied with a review form fill the five point scale questions last it is most important to write an itemized review report Relevance [ ] poor [ ] marginal [ ] fair [ x ] good [ ] excellent Originality [ ] poor [ ] marginal [ ] fair [ x ] good [ ] excellent Background knowledge of the subject and references [ ] poor [ ] marginal [ ] fair [ x ] good [ ] excellent Technical content [ ] poor [ ] marginal [ ] fair [ x ] good [ ] excellent Presentation [ ] poor [ ] marginal [ ] fair [ x ] good [ ] excellent
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Reviewing a research paper: analysis The analysis of a paper can be done by generating explanations to the following eight points (Smith 1990) 1. What is the purpose of the paper? 2. Is the problem clearly stated and have the key issues been pointed out? 3. Is it clear what has been accomplished? 4. Is the paper appropriate for the intended forum? 5. If it is not, what could be a better choice? 6. Is the goal significant = has the work been worth doing? 7. Are the results just trivial variations or extensions of previous results? 8. Are there any new ideas, or novelties in research methodology? Citation analysis using electronic libraries are a big help!
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Reviewing a research paper: analysis (cont’d) Is the method of approach clear and valid? Is there something fundamentally flawed in the approach? Are the assumptions realistic and does that matter? Is the method new? Can it be generalized to other problems? Is the actual execution of the research correct? Are the mathematics and statistics correct? Check! Have the simulations been described in sufficient detail for replication? What about the boundary conditions? Do the results make sense? This part may require considerable effort from the reviewer...
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Reviewing a research paper: analysis (cont’d) Are the conclusions correct? What are the applications or implications of the results and are the results analysed to an adequate depth? Is the presentation satisfactory? Is the paper readable? Is it structured according to the conventions of scientific publications? What did you as the reviewer learn? If you didn’t learn anything, then the paper is not publishable (provided that you understood the paper)
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Reviewing a research paper: analyzing the references It is researcher’s professional obligation to cite prior work the manuscript being reviewed includes claims of novelties; regularly citing prior research the reviewer needs to check the validity of the claims most efficient to carry out the analysis using electronic libraries At minimum: Check what is found using the key words of the article Study the references you don’t know beforehand Check which recent papers cite the same references Check the references of those recent papers
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Review structure The actual refereeing form General comments on the paper Specific comments on the paper Confidential note to editor General idea: be professional and non-hostile: write the review in a style that you would like to receive for your paper
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 The refereeing form Forms might look quite different but basically ask the same things Poorly designed ones just have yes/no answers, good ones prompt the referee to elaborate Make sure you read and understand it well
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Writing the referee report No fixed rules exist, the following ones are according to (Smith 1990) Most important: make your opinions clear; avoid ”perhaps” and ”maybe”; evaluate the paper, not the author; itemize the contributions State the recommendation and its justification; the five point scale part of the evaluation form is not enough Show with a few summarizing sentences that you have understood the paper. The editor may use this part and compare your summary to those of the other reviewers Evaluate the significance and validity of the research goal Evaluate the quality of methodology, techniques, accuracy and presentation; recommendations for revisions can be written here Make a clear recommendation for or against publication with justifications
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Compiling the recommendations Classification of papers (Smith 1990) 1.Very significant; includes major results (<1% of all papers) 2.Interesting work, a good contribution (<10%) 3.Minor positive contribution (10-30%) 4.Elegant and technically correct, but useless 5.Neither elegant nor useful, but not wrong 6.Wrong and misleading 7.Unreadable, impossible to evaluate The acceptance level of the journals and conferences vary; 1,2, and perhaps 3(-4)
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Outcome Usually: Accept the paper as it is Paper requires minor changes Paper requires major changes (with or without a new refereeing process) Reject publication of the paper You can only suggest, the choice is not yours Decision is based on at least 3 reviews
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Research proposals A research proposal is a request for funding submitted to, MCyT, MECD, GENCAT European Commission NIH, NASA, NSF, ESF other funding organization such as a foundation The key difference to reviewing research papers is that the reviewers also evaluate the proposers Not all organizations use peer review as a means for selecting proposals for funding
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Evaluating research proposals The evaluation criteria vary between funding organizations Key criteria: 1.Is the research topic significant? 2.Are the goals realistic? 3.Has the proposer sufficient expertice and facilities to reach the goals? 4.Is the requested funding reasonable?
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Ethics of refereeing Objectivity Judge paper on its own merits Remove prejudice If you are not able to review it, return it Fairness Author may have different point of view / methodology / arguments Judge from their school of thought not yours Speed Be fast, but do not rush. Author deserves a fair hearing
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Ethics of refereeing Professional treatment Act in the best interest of the author and conference/journal Specific rather than vague criticism Confidentiality Cannot circulate paper Cannot use without permission Conflict of interest Discuss with editor
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Ethics of refereeing Honesty About your expertise and confidence in appraisal Courtesy Constructive criticism Non-inflammatory language Suggest improvements
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Acting as an editor or program chairperson The editor maintains correspondence with authors and referees finds new referees if the ones assigned fail to act in given time decides on acceptance, rejection or a revision round based on 2-4 review statements. should distribute all review statements to the referees receives occasional negative feedback Review is not a vote! The editor is likely to line himself according to the best justified recommendations Conference program committees often rely on the numerical evaluations, occasionally resorting to vote
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to become a referee Writing a publication that is cited is the most certain way to become a referee Coordination or technical coordination of an EU RTD project is a direct road to proposal evaluations Refereeing is very rewarding, helps to keep up-to- date and aware of developments in fields adjacent to ones own specialty
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Final words Good referee reports are valuable and free of charge help in improving the paper help in improving as a researcher help in improving as a referee Refereeing is a learning experience Scientific progress rests heavily on peer reviews
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 PROJECT THESIS EDITOR OFFICE Using the articles prepared, we will set up an editorial office Each student will act as an associate editor of one article and will review three articles Each student will peer review his/her three allocated articles and will return the referee report to the assigned associate editor The associate editor will compile the final report and will return the final report with the individual referee reports to the Editorial Office
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Proposal Writing
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Proposal Writing In order to carry out research, in general financing is required. There are several national and international sources of funding and the process for obtaining funding is realised through proposal submission and review. The aim of this section is to INFORM you of the proposal process, proposal formats and existing funding bodies. The homework of this class will be to draft a proposal of your PhD to assist you in your resaerch planning, but NOT with a view to preparing a formal proposal in the style of those submitted for financing!
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Content Why research ? Why should this be in a competitive context ? Why a research proposal ? Getting started What makes a good proposal ? Writing your proposal How to structure your proposal ? The review process Allocation of funding What next ? Getting help with your proposal ? Quick TIPS for writing a good proposal
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Why research ? Why is the development of research within universities a must ? To maintain the quality of teaching programs. Provide the basis for undergraduate and graduate thesis research projects. Universities should be more than degree delivering institutions. Universities should be the basket for new knowledge and developments.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Why should this be in a competitive context ? Do universities have the financial capacity to develop and support research activities ? Where can the money be found to develop and support research ? How can society get the highest return on investment ?
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Why a research proposal ? Convince others the project you have designed is important, worth the effort. Convince others that you have the ability to carry out the research design and report the findings. Generate funds to sustain the research units operation.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Getting started Know your subject. The reviewers will look for an up-to- date knowledge of the research area. Know your funder. Be aware of the priorities and interests of the funder you approach, and know that funders are unlikely to support the same idea twice.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Getting started Consult colleagues. Don’t be afraid to discuss your proposal with colleagues, or even with the grants officer at the funding body. Early discussions can ensure that your proposal is targeted appropriately.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 What makes a good proposal ? A well-prepared application should require minimal effort on the part of the reviewer. Proposals must demonstrate high scientific quality. The requested funds must be in proportion to the proposed project (cost-effectiveness).
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Writing your proposal Allow plenty of time to prepare your proposal. A good starting point is to write a one-page summary of the whole project. This may take a while to get right, but once completed it will serve as an invaluable tool for writing your full proposal. Use your proposal to show the need and then fill the gap.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Writing your proposal Present your proposal in terms of the aims and objectives of the funder and not just your own – make it clear how you will be helping them to fund their priorities. Consider the questions the funder will be asking: Why fund you ? Why fund this ? Why now ?... and make sure that the proposal answers them!
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Writing your proposal Be aware that you will have limited to none opportunities to answer queries arising from a reading of your proposal. Consult the funders website and read clearly the call for research proposals as well as the criteria against which your proposal will be judged.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Writing your proposal Although it is the content that matters, good presentation is often crucial to making your proposal accessible to reviewers and keeping their interest. Use diagrams and tables to add clarity; Bullet points and sections can break up text; Keep to page, word and font size restrictions; and Activate the spell checker while writing.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Check guidelines carefully – failing to meet the funder’s format and specifications is one of the most common reasons for applications being returned. A common proposal structure normally consists of: title, abstract, background, aims and objectives, methodology, work program, resources, outcomes (outputs & dissemination), project management, reviewers.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Title: This is the first impression the reader gets. The title should be short and clear, and the reviewer should be able to understand from the title the intentions of the research. A catchy title posing a question or including an apparant contradiction or acronym may be more easily remembered by a reviewer.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Abstract: Should be a concise summary of the WHOLE project. Use the abstract to identify the need for this research, state what you intend to do, and how you intend to do it. Do not include unnecessary detail; make each phrase count. And remember it is the first impression a reviewer gets of an applicant’s worth!
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Background: This section should be used to put the work into context: what has been done before, and how will the proposed work add to it ? What is the innovative aspect in the research project ? Build your case by demonstrating your capability and familiarity in the area.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Aims and objectives: The aims should describe what you intend to achieve by doing this piece of work. Your objectives are the small steps you need to reach in order to achieve your aim. Aims and objectives should be realistic, consistent, and link them to methods, timetable, and outcomes.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Methodology: Methods should be detailed and well thought through. Explain why you have chosen a particular method. Base your explanation on literature references. If your own experience of a methodology is limited, consider working with collaborators.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Work program: Make use of a Pert chart to illustrate the building blocks – work packages – of the research project. Be detailed in the description of the content of each work package (why, objectives, method(s), duration, when are you going to carry out each WP, partners involved in the realization, sequence of WP, etc.).
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 WP 1 WP 3 WP 2 WATERSHED LEVEL Determination topography of reservoir Determination of sediment load Determination of rainfall and runoff Determination of sediment load Life expectancy reservoir INPUT for decision making Modeling process Gross water availability Topography Land use Soil Climate IRRIGATION SCHEME LEVEL Management system (CERES) Water rights WP 5 WP 4 Predicting the values of the irrigation and economic indicators for alternative scenarios of water management Irrigation indicators Irrigation infrastructure Conveyance efficiency WP 6 Calibration and validation of the methodology for the actual water management situation WP 7 Economic indicators WP 8 Simplified management system Water demand estimation Example of a Pert chart
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Work program: This section contains also a diagrammatic work plan, called a Gannt chart. The Gannt chart or diagrammatic work plan should also be accompanied by a written description.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Example of a Gannt chart (= diagrammatic work plan) deliverables
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Resources: The proposal should contain a detailed budget. The budget asked should be in proportion to the volume and complexity of the work activities. Be aware that funders vary as to what they are prepared to pay in terms of direct project costs, such as staff and equipment, and indirect costs, such as overheads. The funder might request to approve beforehand own inputs or inputs from other institutions participating in the project.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Outcomes, outputs (+ deliverables) and dissemination: In this section one should describe the contribution to knowledge and importance for future research, the benefits to users, and the broader relevance to beneficiaries. Highlight how results will be disseminated (publications, conferences, commercial exploitation, websites,....).
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Project management: This might not be required for small projects. However for projects in which several partners are involved sufficient information has to be provided on how the project will be managed (timescales, milestones, communication, criteria to measure progress, how crisis situations and conflicts will be handled, etc.).
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Example of Project Organization chart
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 How to structure your proposal ? Reviewers: Often requested to suggest name of referees. Choose people who know you and your work; Don’t use reviewers within your own institution; Use international reviewers; and Be aware that applicant’s own referees can write unfavourable reports.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 The review process Expert assessment: Traditionally applications will be assessed by 2 to 3 reviewers selected from the pool of experts. Reviewers will make an independent assessment of the scientific quality of the proposal. To be selected for funding at least 2 of the 3 reviewers should provide a positive assessment.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 The review process What are reviewers looking for ? High scientific quality; Proposals that meet the funder’s priorities or fill a knowledge gap; Novelty and timeliness; Value for money; A clear and well thought out approach; and An interesting idea – catch their attention!
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 The review process Awards committee: Ranks the submitted proposals on the basis of the reviewer’s reports. Their operation and procedures can be very variable from funder to funder. They might for policy reasons of the funder deviate from the reviewer’s assessment.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Allocation of funding Position in the ranking is important – it could mean the difference between success and failure. Proposals are often ranked into the following categories: Fund; Fundable; Invite resubmission (used by some funders); or Reject.
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 What next ? If the project is retained for funding OK. If the project is found fundable ??? If invited for resubmission revise proposal feedback from the reviewers panel. If rejected, can be very frustrating do not give up, try to get feedback remember it is a learning process !
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Quick for writing a good proposal Allow plenty of time; Start by writing a summary of your proposed project; Demonstrate an up-to-date knowledge of your field; Present your proposal in terms of the aims and objectives of the funder; Avoid jargon – say what you mean in clear, simple language; Don’t be afraid to state the obvious; Use graphics and diagrams to summarise what you are trying to communicate
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Allow a maximum of 4 charts (PERT, GANNT, PROJECT ORGANIZATION and BUDGET) - but include as many schematic representations of the concepts as possible; Anticipate questions that may arise, before they arise; Ask a colleague to review your proposal; and Be enthusiastic about your idea – if you don’t sound interested, why should anyone else be ? Quick for writing a good proposal
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Funding Sources EUROPE European Comission (www.cordis.lu) - 4 year programmes with identified priorities and objectives. Currently Framework 6 - Framework 7 soon begins this year European Science Foundation (www.esf.org) National Funding (www.medc.es, US National Institute of Health (www.nih.gov) DARPA (www.darpa.mil) NASA Department Of Energy Department Of Agriculture
Project Thesis Class 4, 27/11/2006 Homework Draft a proposal of your PhD project The proposal should include: Title Page Table of Contents Overall and sub-objectives State-of-the-art and novelty of project Workplan - divide into ‘workpackages’, for each WP describe the tasks and sub-tasks (a couple of paragraphs for each), the resources required, risk analysis and contingency plan, as well as deliverables and milestones Pert Chart Gantt Chart Bibliography (? Budget)