RCR: Rigor & Reproducibility (R&R) In Reporting: From Project Proposal To Publication

This session is part of series on Rigor & Reproducibility. Receiving approval for funding from granting agencies is more competitive than ever. Granting agencies expect both rigor and reproducibility without providing much guidance. This session will focus on health research reporting guidelines to enhance rigor and reproducibility while writing project proposals/protocols, IRB submissions, conference presentations, and publications of findings.

Navigating the Scientific Writing Process: A Matter of Skilled Mentoring, Explicit Support, and Learned Experience

Scientific writing and communication are essential for advancing science, translating science and ensuring results reach a broad audience, and are critical to career development for both junior and senior scientists. A well-written manuscript conveys contributions to the field, situates the findings into broader frameworks, and most importantly, creates enthusiasm about the subject matter (Mensh & Kording, 2017). However, most trainees are not explicitly taught the skills necessary for effective scientific writing until they reach graduate school, during which time, they typically ‘learn by doing’ under the guidance of a skilled mentor, becoming more proficient as they gain first-hand experience through the writing, peer review, and publication processes. This seminar will provide guidance on structuring papers in a way that adequately communicates the main ideas of the paper, but perhaps more critically, how to navigate this process as a mentee, and how to support trainees through this journey as a mentor. Dr. Parr will describe her progression as she has learned to write with mentors with a diverse range of preferences and expertise, first as a graduate student (learning phase), next as a postdoctoral scholar (refinement phase), and presently as research faculty where she is finding her voice as an independent writer and developing her role as a mentor. Dr. Luna will describe the essentials for a good paper given her own publishing history, mentoring, reviewing for journals, and as Editor of a journal. She will also provide critical perspective into mentoring in scientific writing, supporting trainees with diverse writing styles, working to balance and adjust to the needs and experience level of each trainee, and how to support mentees through their development as scientific writers as they transition through graduate school to become independent researchers.

Speaker Bios:

Beatriz Luna, PhD is the Distinguished Staunton Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the founder and Director of the Laboratory for Neurocognitive Development, the founder and acting past president of the Flux Society for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Editor in Chief of the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

Dr. Luna studies brain development, examining the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie the adolescent period, from decision-making to vulnerabilities to the emergence of mental illness. Her research uses multimodal neuroimaging methods including: functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), and Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The findings from her studies have led to an influential model of adolescent development, which indicates that the brain systems supporting executive processes are available by adolescence, but are driven by neural processes supporting motivation. Her model emphasizes that adolescence is a critical period of brain specialization in which adult modes of operation are determined - underlining vulnerabilities for the emergence of psychopathology. Dr. Luna has published over a hundred peer-reviewed articles describing her innovative studies, in addition to several review papers and chapters discussing her theoretical models of development. She has received numerous awards, notably the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering. Her research has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health, and has informed US Supreme Court briefs regarding extended sentencing in the juvenile justice system. Her extensive media history also includes a cover story in National Geographic and a PBS Special with Alan Alda - “Brains on Trial”. Dr. Luna has mentored 15 PhD students from psychology, neuroscience, and bioengineering, as well as more than 10 postdoctoral fellows, and 7 junior faculty, all of whom have had a productive publishing history and successful careers.

Ashley C Parr, PhD is a Research Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research characterizes how developmental changes in reward and cognitive systems support the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Dr. Parr uses multimodal neuroimaging (fMRI, rsfMRI, PET, MTR, tissue iron, and MRS) in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses to understand how the brain changes through adolescence to support the transition to adulthood. Her findings emphasize how individual differences in dopamine function contribute to the development of cognitive control and reward systems throughout adolescence, which have implications for the emergence of neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Parr is particularly interested in how dopamine interacts with other brain systems, how this gives rise to differences in decision-making across development, particularly exacerbated sensation seeking that is a feature of behavioral phenotypes such as substance use and delinquency behaviors that emerge and intensify during the adolescent period. Dr. Parr has published several peer-reviewed articles describing her innovative studies, in addition to several chapters contextualizing findings within theoretical models of development, and has mentored several undergraduate students throughout the course of her PhD and postdoctoral appointment. She has a particular interest in applying her findings in normative development to high-risk populations and translating her findings in order to inform policy within the juvenile justice system and develop preventative strategies for at-risk youth.

Navigating Through the Peer-Review Process

Navigating the peer-review process is a complex, yet essential skill for anyone involved in academia. Yet, it is not always easy to understand how to optimally interact with reviewers. Combining the perspective and experience of an “outsider” (as an author and university administrator) and “insider” (as a reviewer and editor, and as a publisher), this workshop will demystify the peer-review process, focusing on the “reviewer” experience. Featuring a scholar acting as Editor-in-Chief of several journals, and a publisher having held a variety of major publishing portfolio, three main points will be addressed: firstly, how to be a better reviewer; secondly, how to better respond to, and navigate, reviewers in the peer-review process; and thirdly, how being a reviewer can not only enhance one’s understanding of the peer-review process, but can help develop one’s career path and support overall professional development.

Matthieu J. Guitton, PhD, FRAI is Full Professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Full Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies of Université Laval, and Senior Researcher/Group Leader at the CERVO Brain Research Center (Quebec City, QC, Canada), and Bualuang ASEAN Professor Chair at Thammasat University (Bangkok, Thailand). A graduate of the Université de Rouen and Université Paris VI, he holds a PhD from the Université de Montpellier (France), and is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain. He is a former Koshland Scholar/Postdoctoral Fellow of Excellence of the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel). He is the Editor-in-Chief of the “Computers in Human Behavior” family of journals, which includes “Computers in Human Behavior” (the world leading journal in the field of cyberpsychology, with an Impact Factor of 8.975) and its Open Access companion, “Computers in Human Behavior Reports”. He also is the Psychology & Technology Section Editor of “Acta Psychologica” and serves on other editorial boards such as “Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences” or “Advances in Medicine.” He has published over a hundred papers, book chapters, or editorials, on subjects as diverse as cyberpsychology (eHealth, digital inequalities, virtual communities, …), biomedical sciences, cultural studies, or international security. He has acted as Reviewer for over 100 different journals, and is a Reader for several publishing houses including Nature Publishing Group. A former Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, he is heavily involved in junior Faculty professional development, and has given professional development talks, seminars, and workshops for different universities and professional organisations. He has been invited by numerous universities worldwide, including in Europe (e.g., University of Oxford, Russian Academy of Sciences, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), North America (e.g., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Texas A&M University at Galvestone, Université de Montréal), the Caribbean (e.g., Université d’État d’Haïti), and Asia (e.g., Renmin University of China (Bejing), Thammasat University (Bangkok)).

Gail M. Rodney is a 25+ year scholarly publishing professional employed with Elsevier as a Senior Publisher for the Neuroscience group. She has a passion for innovative concepts and workflows, serving previously as a co-organizer for the Elsevier 3D Printing Grand Challenge and piloting the winning Elsevier Executable Paper Grand Challenge platform in a journal under her remit. Her current focus is open science, and she is working with researchers and peers alike to find better ways to ensure scientific research is not only more inclusive, collaborative, and transparent, but also accessible to all. Throughout her career, she has held many roles and has been responsible for the launch and/or repositioning of a dozen peer-review titles. Gail holds a BA in English and is a proud graduate of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury. Let’s go Panthers!

Open Access Drop-In Session: MORE Than Just Articles

As part of Open Access Week (#OAweek), virtually drop-into the library to have a conversation about making your research outputs such datasets, protocols, and software available open access.

Registration not required, but if you register, you will receive event notifications.

Meeting Link:

If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact Melissa Ratajeski at by October 20, 2022.

Open Access Drop-In Session: How Does Open Access Publishing Work?

As part of Open Access Week (#OAweek), virtually drop into the library to have a conversation about the benefits and logistics of publishing your work open access (OA). Even if you don’t have the funds to publish OA, it’s still possible! We can review the OA funding support options available at Pitt, finding journals with no article process charges, or self-archiving your manuscript in an OA repository.

Registration not required, but if you register, you will receive event notifications.

Meeting Link:

If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact Stephen Gabrielson at by October 19, 2022. 

Visualizing Research Impact with VOSviewer

Data visualizations can be an effective way to tell your research impact story and add value to a wide variety of reports. Whether it’s to illustrate author collaborations, analyze article citation patterns, or explore research trends through text mining, this class will introduce you to techniques for creating your own visualizations with VOSviewer. Participants are encouraged to follow along with the in-class exercises.

A basic knowledge of research metrics prior to the class is helpful, but not required. Students, faculty, and staff are all welcome to attend.

After this class, participants will be able to:

  • Explain what VOSviewer is and describe the data sources it uses.
  • Describe the different network maps used in bibliometric data visualizations.
  • Create co-authorship, citation, and co-term occurrence visualizations. 
  • Decide when it is appropriate to visualize research impact and recognize the limitations. 

Class materials will be made available to class registrants. This class will not be recorded.

iThenticate for Grant Proposals

iThenticate is a plagiarism detection software supported by the University of Pittsburgh.  It allows researchers to easily upload and scan manuscripts and other professional works for instances of plagiarism.  Use of iThenticate is highly encouraged by the Office of Sponsored Programs prior to submission of all grant proposals.

This hands-on class will cover:

  • How the software works and what material it uses for comparison
  • Uploading files and configuration options for the interface
  • Viewing and understanding the “similarity report”
  • Sharing across user profiles to support collaborative editorial review

In addition to class registration, participants must complete the iThenticate account request form.

Class materials will be made available to class attendees. This class will not be recorded.

Increasing Your Research Visibility

In this session, we’ll discuss how making informed publishing decisions and managing your online researcher identity are effective ways to increase the visibility of your research. Different types of open access publishing models, including free ways to share your work, will be discussed. We’ll then take a deeper dive into how an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCiD) helps distinguish yourself from other researchers, keeps your scholarly record up to date, and automates other researcher profile systems to showcase your impact. Students, faculty, and staff are all welcome to attend.

Upon completing this class, you should be able to:

  • Describe how publishing choices affect your research visibility.
  • Describe the benefits of using ORCiD.
  • Register for an ORCiD and add your works.
  • Compare different researcher profile systems and choose the ones that are right for you.

Class materials will be made available to class registrants. This class will not be recorded.

Publishing in Open Access Journals: Drop-In Session

Come to this informal drop-in session with questions about how to make your work open access. Whether you need help finding the right journal, identifying predatory publishers, understanding copyright and licensing, or need help interpreting funder policies—all open access related inquiries are welcome. 

No registration required.

Meeting Link:

Meeting Passcode: 511356

Web of Science and InCites: Measuring Research Impact

This class will provide a deep dive on how to use the Web of Science (WoS) and InCites for measuring research impact. Methods for building author searches in WoS will be demonstrated, as well as how to run citation reports, which can be used for tenure and promotion applications. Additional metrics and more options for measuring research impact will be shown in InCites.