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Research Week was well underway as day 2 of Research week arrived. Springer editor, Fritz Schmuhl, addressed attendees on scientific writing for publication, sharing his vast editorial knowledge and experience from the past 20 years.

Speaking to the difficulty of getting published, Fritz touched on both the author’s and the editor’s challenges, giving attendees great insight into the processes that govern publication, as well as common mistakes that go along with article submissions.

Make sure to have a look at his presentation, which will be available on the blog soon. (more…)

In conjunction with Research Week we will be launching a series of videos on our YouTube channel. The videos will include tips to support your research!

Here is the first on Using Web of Science for your Research.

Danie Visser at Research Week.

Professor Danie Visser (Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, UCT) talks at the beginning of Research Week.

Monday morning 12 May saw the opening of Research Week hosted by our very own UCT Libraries and the UCT Post-Graduate Centre, and marks the inception of what will confidently be an annual event of this kind. Born out of the Library’s strategic plan to foster and maintain collaborative relationships with key stakeholders in support of research, the Research Week will offer various talks and panel discussions for post-graduate students ranging from research ethics, open scholarship to publication.

The event was opened by UCT Libraries Executive-Director Gwenda Thomas and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, Danie Visser. Prof Wieland Gevers and Prof Valerie Mizrahi kicked off the talks with a discussion around Research and Publication in South Africa.

As part of the open agenda, which will commence on Friday 16 May, the library has created a Research Tree to elicit research struggles from attendees. This will allow for discussion about common difficulties within the post-graduate experience. A number of research posters are also on display and will be judged on Thursday 15 May, when authors will be presenting their research. Feel free to stop by and have a look at the posters on display as well as interact with the researchers. (more…)

“When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Crumpled papers.

Photo by ds139. Used under CC2.0.

As I am writing this, I find myself struggling with writers block, and I discover Nietzsche’s famous words echoing through my mind, though slightly construed. As we stare onto the blank, the blank also stares back onto us, and so it goes, the terrible cycle of empty page and empty mind feeding one other. The question at hand: is writer’s block real, and if so, where does it come from? The notion that there is a psychological aspect associated with writer’s block seems to be wide reaching and yet altogether misguided.

Robert Boice notes in his essay on writing blocks that references to this problem have been strewn, and that they have often been based on a writer’s subjective experiences. Psychologists have little to say on the subject and yet the fact that the term is often used interchangeably with writer’s anxiety brings it again, though somewhat problematically, into the realm of psychology.

Is this so called block a manifestation of our own insecurities and inexperience as writers? This would seem to be plausible. During the write up of my own research, I often felt overwhelmed and unequal to the task at hand. However, there is hope for us yet. Keith Hjortshoj writes in his book Understanding Writers Block, “Young inexperienced writers rarely encounter serious blocks… writing blocks are most common among advanced undergraduates, graduate students, scholars, and other professional writers who are not supposed to need help” (2001: 3). (more…)