Q&A with Professor Caterina Cocchi

Q&A with Professor Caterina Cocchi

We talk to Professor Caterina Cocchi, who is heavily involved in Electronic Structure (EST)’s Emerging Leaders issues (2020 and 2021) as well as the past events, and who has also joined EST as a guest editor.

How can IOP Publishing help early career researchers who are starting out in their publishing journey?

“IOP Publishing and publishers in general could offer more resources to train young scientists to write papers and to act as peer reviewers. For some unknown reason, academic education does not typically include official seminars or training about scientific writing and publishing. Both activities are typically passed on from mentor to mentee, naturally generating big gaps among scientists, which may ultimately affect their career. The ability to write a clear and convincing scientific text is not only key for publishing good papers but also to win grants, positions and, ultimately, to be visible in the community.”

Are there any tips, tools or websites that you would recommend?

“When writing a paper, it is important to communicate a clear message and to give the manuscript a clear structure. Also, using only essential words is much more effective than diluting the content in endless prose. During the peer-review process, it is important to always consider the referees’ comments on a factual level. Never take them personally.

I follow a few blogs about scientific writing. I can definitely suggest the one by Anna Clemens. It is regularly updated and offers a broad spectrum of suggestions and hints about scientific writing and about the whole publication process.”

What did you do after you published your paper? Did you promote it? How?

“I published my first paper in 2010 and back then social media was not very much used by the scientific community. To disseminate, I attended a number of conferences and workshops in which I presented the results of that paper.”

What would you say to an early career researcher who is asking the question “Should I consider publishing my research?”

“Publishing is the essence of scientific work. Any piece of work that is not published or disseminated to the community simply does not exist. Hence, if you want to give visibility to your work, you have to publish it. Very often, I see in young scientists the fear of submitting something that is not perfect, and this is usually the cause of big delays in publications. My motto is “published is better than perfect” and I encourage my young co-workers to wrap up their work effectively and disseminate it in a timely manner. Should the results be disproved later, well, this is how science works, right?”