Tips for presenting and publishing collaborative research, from a scientist

In last week’s blog we discussed undertaking collaborative projects, however what should you do once you have all the wonderful data, have analysed it together and drawn exciting conclusions? Our Science Correspondent Ian Hancox explores this theme.

Below are a few tips on how to publish and present collaborative research, but we would also love to hear your tips too!


Publishing journal articles alongside collaborators can be exciting and frustrating in equal measure. Whilst you gain additional specialist opinions on a project and enhance the possibilities for a deeper understanding on a research topic, you can also run into problems that are political or due to different working styles. The tips below aim to highlight ways around some common problems:

  • Decide who will be first and last authors before the draft is started. These will normally be from the lead institution or research group.
  • Can your work be split into two publications looking at different aspects of the work? That way both research groups can have a first author article!
  • Will any of the work be going into the thesis of PhD students from either group? Ensure the students acknowledge the correct people for each piece of data obtained and analysed.
  • Do you or your collaborators want to patent the work? If so, this needs to be done before publication or presentation. This could be especially relevant for work alongside industry, although who holds the patent is a discussion for another day . . . .
  • When you send out a first draft of the article set a time for a skype meeting to discuss changes and corrections. This effectively sets a deadline for your collaborators to have gone through the work.
  • If you are not lead, ensure you do get back to collaborators about draft corrections in a timely fashion to keep a harmonious research relationship going!
  • Stick to writing the parts of the article that you are a specialist in. Provide placeholders where you want the collaborators to add their analysis for areas beyond your own expertise.
  • If both research groups are from the same institution, who can count the article towards their own REF outputs?


Whilst many of the points above can also be applied to presenting work from a collaborative research project, there are a few further tips you can bear in mind specifically for presenting work:

  • In order to maximise the exposure of your work, meet with your collaborators and set a schedule for which conferences each researcher will present at. This avoids the awkward situation where both collaborators send the same abstract to a particular conference!
  • Send slides or posters to collaborators as far in advance as possible. In particular, industry can have stipulations requiring presentations to get clearance prior to the conferences (and even abstract submission!).
  • Ensure you understand the data others have taken and analysed, invariably these slides are the ones you will get questions about.
  • Make sure you acknowledge your collaborators, preferably at both the start and end of the presentation. Include institutional logos and those for your collaborators funding alongside your own.

These tips are just a few points to bear in mind when working on collaborative publications and presenting the work. What are your experiences of presenting and publishing collaborative work? Leave a comment to let us know your best tips and examples where everything just didn’t work (no need to name and shame!).

You can follow @Piirus_com on Twitter, look out for our tips with the hashtag #piirustips and tweet your own tips with #piirustips.

Post by Ian Hancox, Science Correspondent

IanHancoxIan is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Tim Jones group in the Department of Chemistry at University of Warwick. His work includes close links to Asylum Research UK, an Oxford Instruments company, in equipment development and collaborations with the University of Toronto. Previously Ian completed his MChem at Warwick, then undertook a 4 year industrially funded PhD under the supervision of Prof. Tim S. Jones.  Ian co-organised the Warwick section of the EIT Climate-KIC ‘the Journey’, a Masters and PhD level summer school focused on an entrepreneurial approach to climate change, in both 2013 and 2014. In his spare time Ian (sometimes) enjoys watching Wolves and regularly plays football badly.


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