NELGA Researchers in Southern Africa Master the Art of Scientific Writing

Scientific writing is important in the development of academia and academic institutions. It is a challenge for postgraduate students and lecturers (supervisors) to write scientific papers, especially for publication in high impact scientific journals. Academics and postgraduate students have found it difficult to develop their scientific writing skills to meet the publication requirements of high impact journals. Lecturers who supervise postgraduate candidates face the daunting task of transferring quality scientific writing skills to the students since writing at postgraduate level is complex. Therefore, strengthening the capacity of lecturers to transfer scientific writing skills effectively improves graduation rates and academic publications.

In an attempt to a Scientific Writers’ workshop was held back in October 2022 at Chaminuka Lodge and Nature Reserves in Lusaka, Zambia. The objectives of the workshop are as follows; i) Improve the quality of scientific writing skills. ii) Assist early researchers working on scientific papers to produce publishable papers. iii) Increase research collaboration among NELGA member Universities and iv) Strengthen research supervision and mentorship skills of academic staff supervising postgraduate students.

The Workshop was a collaboration among Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST), Network for Land Governance in Africa (NELGA), University of Zambia, and sponsored by GIZ. The University of Zambia hosted the workshop, facilitated by four consultants: Professor Chigbu (Namibia), Professor Chakwizira (South Africa), Dr Pamela Duran Diaz (Germany), and Dr Chavunduka (Zimbabwe).  The consultants led each of the sessions that focused on a specific aspect of scientific writing. The areas covered included: H-index and Social Impact factors in scientific academic publication; Strategies of scientific writing skills; Comparing different styles of scientific writing; Conducting effective literature review; Writing scientific articles; Publishing articles in high-ranking journals; Strategies of scientific writing skills; Comparing different styles of scientific writing; Tips on PhD Discourse.

Ten (10) PhD students and one (1) Masters Student registered at various universities also presented summaries of their research papers. Supervisors gave feedback to the students and identified areas of improvement. The main outputs of the workshop included the identification of the members of team to spearhead the development of a scientific writer’/supervisors’ manual. Secondly, the submission of abstracts from each of the participants as a contribution as a chapter a book that will be edited and published.