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Manuscripts are from Mars …….. Researchers are from Venus

Sometimes it’s important to remember – Research is what we do, it’s not who we are. It can be incredibly fulfilling, uplifting, fun, overwhelming, ego-filled and exhausting.

Collaborating, working with manuscripts, research in general – if you asked us about our relationship status with research? #ItsComplicated. In particular, on our Health Research Journey we’ve had some love/hate relationships with our paper writing.

Here are a few things we’ve said about manuscripts we’ve been in relationships with …

1. It was love at first cite
2. Are we exclusive or are you seeing other papers
3. I’d like to take things slow
4. I don’t want roses, I want ORCIDs
5. We need to spend some quality time together
6. I’m seeing other papers
7. We need some time apart
8. Where is this relationship going?
9. Let’s not rush into anything
10. I liked you better when you were a conference paper
11. I think we are just staying together for the kids (or the funding body)
12. You’re not really my type
13. I need to work out who I am (especially for interdisciplinary manuscripts)
14. I’m not sure this is the right time for us
15. I don’t see a future for us
16. I think we need to break up
17. I’m having a fling with an old flame (reviving a new version)
18. I need some space (between paragraphs, plus italicised headings and APA referencing)
19. We need to define what our relationship is
20. I’ve been knocked back before so I’m wary about investing too much
21. I’ve set you up on a blind date (with a reviewer)

This is not only about our relationship with our manuscripts; it’s often, and often more importantly, about the relationships between colleagues and co-authors. If you’re lucky you’ll strike a match made in research heaven but sometimes these relationships are just plain tricky and sometimes hard work (It’s not you it’s me… no it’s really you). More on this in future posts… (Coming up soon: ‘Saying no’).

Here are some relevant publishing tips we wish we’d read earlier in our research careers… http://www.elsevier.com/connect/co-authors-gone-bad-how-to-avoid-publishing-conflicts

Wear your heart on your sleeve, not on your research project.

heart(Image sourced from Crunchy Badger)

What’s your current manuscript relationship status? #ResearchItsComplicated



Happy Anniversary

There is a lot of luck in partnerships – who you meet, who you share an office with, who’s interested or researching on the same topic – there is no rhyme or reason to when you will meet them. But what is key to sound partnerships is that working in them is, for the most part, pleasant and highly productive.



Being part of a successful partnership requires first that you know your strengths and weaknesses. Some excellent thoughts on this can be found here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-weakness-strengthens-relationships-deanna-murphy-m-s-spc-ii. In our experience, as RHD students we often end up doing everything for our theses however in the real world it is much better if we use our strengths, work in our happy flow states and achieve more. This can be conflicting because, as an example from our office, Jodie worries that if she doesn’t get better at formatting manuscripts for example, then she’s not doing a good job. But for Jodie to format well requires an exceptional amount of concentration, energy and usually still results in average outputs. Lynsey on the other hand thrives on this aspect of the manuscript process and does it with the swiftest of mouse clicks. But, Lynsey worries about her ability to create new project ideas and critically appraise literature, things she finds challenging but that Jodie does superbly well. We have realised that often partners have complementary skills.



What began as a fortunate coincidence has now developed into a strategic alliance. We’ve learned that in collaborating you need to recognise what other skills you need to fit out your team. We also understand that partnerships are a good place to start if your aim is to work on something bigger. In short, know your working style, be open and honest about it, but most importantly be ok with it.


Look at successful partnerships in research:
• Warren (Nobel laureate winner) & Marshall – this is an excellent example of a successful, complementary partnership, in this case a researcher with a clinician collaborator without whom the application of his idea would not have taken off. A partner that was willing to consume bacteria to prove your theory, now that’s someone you want as a partner.

If you are in Australian primary health care you might recognise some of these:
• Powell-Davies & Harris
• Young & Gunn
• Jackson & Nicholson
• Baxter & Brown

Did Einstein have a research partner? Surely he must have… find out more here: https://www.bestthinking.com/articles/science/physics/albert-einstein-was-he-really-a-solitary-genius-

Have you found a research partner yet or are you still looking?