Rachel Burga, PhD
Co-Chair Elect, ISCT Early Stage Professionals Committee
Assistant Editor, Cytotherapy
Cambridge, MA, United States
We kicked off the morning with an introduction by ISCT Past President, Bruce Levine – thank you Bruce for your continued support of early stage professionals! With a jam-packed agenda, attendees dove right in to the first session, “Writing an Abstract that Pops!”, where Cytotherapy Senior Editor Don Phinney talked about the differences in writing a manuscript abstract vs. conferences abstract. Don emphasized that conference abstracts “often involve work in progress, and as such the final conclusions may be more open ended”. We broke into small groups to read through an ISCT top scoring abstract (congratulations to Ryang-Hwa Lee et al.) and identify the components that contributed to its success. Strengths of a top scoring abstract included a clearly defined topic, a brief outline of background studies to frame study objectives, concise and supporting data, and conclusions along with potential broad impact statements succinctly stated.
Next, we switched gears to focus on the making of a manuscript itself; sharing tips and tricks to streamline the manuscript preparation process for authors as well as understanding from both an editor and publications standpoint what a “good manuscript” really means. Cytotherapy Assistant Editor Rachel Burga talked about manuscript must-haves, with an emphasis on authors having a clear understanding of the scope of the desired journal and the suitability of submitted research as compared to recently published articles in that journal. We shared insights from a Biorender webinar on the creation of graphical abstracts and learned how a graphical abstract can (and in other instances cannot!) support and enhance a manuscript. Ande Nichols, publisher at Elsevier, echoed the importance of topic suitability, and walked us through the logistics of submitting a manuscript to Cytotherapy using Elsevier’s platform. We also learned about the many ways that authors can and should promote their recently published articles, including a customizable unique link that provides authors and co-authors with 50 days of free access to share with interested readers!
To close us out, we went back to our small groups for an interactive last session where Cytotherapy Commissioning Editor Patrick Hanley led us on an exploration off the prompt “So you were asked to be a Reviewer, now what?”. Patrick talked through the details and logistics of the reviewer process, emphasizing that as a reviewer your role is first and foremost to assess an article in its entirety for originality, quality, quantity, and readability. We next went through two exercises in our small groups to write a constructive peer review, and critiqued examples of unhelpful or negative feedback.
What a whirlwind morning! Thank you to those who were able to participate in our workshop this year; we’re looking forward to continuing in these collaborative workshops at future ISCT Annual Meetings, and hope to see you in Paris 2023!
Click here to access the workshop slide deck