From Academics to Research: Maximizing Your Reach in Anesthesiology
Three established anesthesiologists covered the spectrum of maximizing your impact in academics and research during the session, “Maximizing Your Scientific Impact,” held on Saturday, April 2 at the IARS, AUA, SOCCA and eSAS Scholars’ Day. Attendees journeyed through a range of helpful topics from establishing themselves as investigators to finding a greater reach for their research and finally to developing the skills to clearly and meaningfully present that work.
Moderator Michael Devinney, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Duke University School of Medicine, set the scene for the three presentations.
Jean-Francois Pittet, MD, David Hill Chestnut Endowed Professor, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Director, Organ Injury and Trauma Research at University of Alabama in Birmingham, author of over 260 manuscripts and Editor-in-Chief, Anesthesia & Analgesia, shared his insights from his experience leading A&A during his presentation, “Journal Editor’s Perspective.” From tips for publishing to Journal Editors’ expectations, he covered a wide range of topics helpful to the aspiring investigator.
When considering submitting a paper, Dr. Pittet recommended that researchers complete 70% of a project before publishing in order to avoid publishing too early or late. It can also be useful to write a short communication to mark your research territory. When publishing try to present something new, but do not publish anything you plan to patent nor should you split your research into too many publications. As far as the question of quality vs quantity, an emphasis on quality can hinder productivity while an emphasis on quantity can increase erroneous results. It is important to balance replication and generalization.
Before submission, format your article, find an appealing title and catchy keywords and prepare an impactful cover letter. An impactful cover letter should demonstrate to the editor that the paper fits into the journal’s scope, including why readers would find it important, why the research is important to the field and a description of the originality of the research. The letter should highlight the novelty and impact in a brief, largely nontechnical summary. It should put the work in context, explain the scientific advances over previous research and discuss potential applications.
According to Dr. Pittet, perceptions of conflict of interest are as important as actual conflicts of interest. There are several forms of scientific misconduct including, fabrication (making up results), falsification (false manipulation of materials, processes or results) and plagiarism (appropriating another’s ideas without proper credit). Misconduct represents a significant departure from accepted practices and is committed intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. Honest, unintentional error or difference of opinion is not misconduct.
Ending on a positive note, he encouraged attendees to consider submitting abstracts to Anesthesia & Analgesia on a few key area of interest to the editors currently. The Journal is looking for clinical articles that address important perioperative problems and gaps in perioperative care as well as how to address these problems.
The session traversed from establishing a presence in the publishing world to promoting your research through social media with a presentation by Ed R. Mariano, MD, MAS, FASA, Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and Chief of the Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care Service at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Stanford University School of Medicine, on “Self-Promotion on Social Media.” President Elect for the California Society of Anesthesiology, Dr. Mariano possesses significant experience in using social media to enhance your academic career. He is one of the top 10 anesthesiologists to follow on the social media platform, Twitter, and revealed some lessons learned for social media in general as well as Twitter specifically.
He explained how your research may find new and expanded audiences on social media which may not be available just in the traditional publishing platform. Although there is a pressure on faculty to publish, half of academic papers are only read by the authors, reviewers and the journal editor that accepts the paper. In order to increase the likelihood that an article is read, authors should promote their work on social media, Dr. Mariano stressed. There is a correlation between how frequently a paper is tweeted and how often it is subsequently cited. Professionals often use Twitter to facilitate real-time global interactions with a diverse audience. These interactions can increase public interest, which can lead to more citations. On Twitter, you are also able to join current conversations and discover the interests of others.
Dr. Mariano shared several practical tips including: posting is not an emergency, when in doubt pause, never post when angry, strive for accuracy, do not violate HIPPA, ask for permission, assume beneficence, beware of friending patients, and educate yourself before you post about controversial topics. For any post, it can be useful to include meeting hashtags, mention people who may be interested and to use images to attract attention. Lastly, although Twitter can be used for self-promotion, it is important to also promote the work of others.
Rounding out the discussion on developing your scientific impact, the next speaker, Mary Beth Brady, MD, FASE, Vice Chair for Education for the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, covered best practices for presenting your work in her talk, “Presentation Skills: The Do’s, the Don’ts and the Disasters.” A recipient of multiple teaching awards, Dr. Brady has developed a curriculum focused on enhancing presentation skills, which she uses to mentor trainees at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She revealed to the audience many lessons learned from that curriculum.
When preparing a presentation, think about it like a conversation with another person, Dr. Brady recommended. Take the time to ask questions and pause to connect with the audience. In order to engage the audience, it is important to know your audience, while keeping in mind culture, age and language. International audiences may not understand some references. Humor can add to a presentation, but often scripted humor is not funny and not necessary. Cartoons can make a point, but may also take focus away from the topic at hand. Slides should use words sparingly as most people have a better memory for pictures. Videos are great for visualizing a complex process, but be sure that the video works, including the sound. Labeling the movie may add clarity, but do not overwhelm the audience by showing everything on a slide all at once. Often the audience can look at what is on the slide or they can listen to what the speaker is saying, but not both. Avoid showing visual information when speaking as the audience will often focus on what they see rather than what they hear.
Dr. Brady emphasized that each part of the presentation is important, but the introduction is the most important part. Audience members often decide within the first 10 seconds whether or not they will continue to listen to a presentation. In order to keep the audience’s attention, try to present take-home messages first. When presenting figures, remove unnecessary details and relabel the figure to increase the size of the text. Treat every presentation like it is a job interview, because your performance may persuade someone to give you an opportunity. When preparing for a talk, practice multiple times, ask for feedback from colleagues and, if possible, record yourself. Lastly, a good presentation is never too short.
Led by Dr. Devinney, the session concluded with an engaging Q&A discussion on all three topics. The experts answered individual questions and shared advice to help advance the attendees into the next phase of their careers, expanding their impact in the field of anesthesiology.