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Writing a Journal Article… and Getting it Published

Course 2


15–17 January 2024


Prof. Nicola Low
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern


CH – 3823 Wengen | Alpine Hotel

Course description

“Publish or perish” is a widely quoted phrase that refers to the relentless pressure to get your research pub­lished to further or sustain a career in academia. It is hardly surprising that there are many courses on scien­tific writing on offer. You might ask “Why another one”? Well, this one is different: its focus is not only on how to structure an article, but also on the message and anatomy of a successful article, on how to choose the appropriate journal, and on how to deal with your co‐authors (who often offer little support but cause much delay) and conflicts on authorship. These are very important but neglected aspects of the process of scientific writing and publishing.

The course is based on the “evidence‐based writing” approach developed by Tim Albert, the author of sev­eral books on effective writing (see Our own research output and that of our insti­tute has benefited enormously from Tim’s witty and subversive wisdom. We hope that you will too.

Course objectives

The goal of this course is simple: to enable participants to get their articles written and sent off to an appro­priate journal. By the end of the course participants will have a good understanding of this process and the obstacles involved.

Course audience

This course is for people who are actively writing, or are ready to write, their article. Practical exercises will use students’ own material. The course is suitable for students using either quantitative or qualitative research methods. The course is not suitable for those who are still planning their study, collecting the data, or doing the analysis. Note that this is not a course on critical appraisal or English language and grammar.

Course outline

The course runs over three days and uses the materials and concepts developed by Tim Albert. We start early in the morning on days 1 and 3 with an introduction to the course or review of the previous days. During the extended break in the afternoon participants review course materials, catch up on emails or go skiing.

Monday, 15 January 8:00 am – 12:00 pm | 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Tuesday, 16 January 8:00 am – 12:00 pm | 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Wednesday, 17 January 8:00 am – 12:00 pm | 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

On day 1, we will help you to develop the idea for your article. By the end of the day, you should have a structured outline for your article, plus the first draft of the introduction. The content of day 1 is as follows:

  • Understanding the publication game
  • Understanding the key players
  • Writing the message of the article
  • Choosing a journal
  • Organising the material
  • Planning the article
  • Writing the article

On day 2, participants will use what they have learned on day 1 to continue writing their article. Mobile phones should be switched off and email should remain unchecked during much of day 2. At the end of the day, participants will print out their draft article.

On day 3, you will use what you have written on day 2. We will do practical, hands-on exercises to address the following issues:

  • Rewriting
  • Adding the extras
  • Dealing with others
  • Completing the package
  • Dealing with reviewers and editors
  • Strategies for failure – and success
  • Setting a personal action plan


1.0 ECTS

Course materials

Students should bring their own portable computers and an idea for a journal article or scientific paper. Ideally, the data should have been analysed already.

Onsite University of Bern IT staff provides support upon e-mail () request.

Course fee

PhD Bern: CHF 650
PhD other: CHF 850
Academic: CHF 1050
Industry: CHF 2050


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Book your accommodation separately. Please see recommendations for special prices.