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Online Writing Workshop for Southeast Asian Early Career Social Science Researchers Studying Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a region with diverse cultures and languages. Scholars based in Southeast Asia are relatively well-published in local journals in English and local languages. However, internationally recognised published research by Southeast Asian social science scholars who are based in the region is still limited. This is even more so for early career researchers (ECRs) who may lack the experience, exposure and confidence to disseminate their work to an international scholarly audience. At the same time, Southeast Asian ECRs based outside the region may also face challenges in publishing in internationally recognised journals due to language barriers. Moreover, the two groups of emerging social science scholars may lack opportunities to interact and collaborate.

To address these issues, Dr. Koh Sin Yee (Institute of Asian Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam) and Dr. Mai Truong (Department of Political Science, Mount St. Mary’s University) co-organised an online writing workshop for a small group of social science ECRs who are based in and beyond Southeast Asia. The workshop was funded by the Women in Southeast Asian Social Sciences (WiSEASS) network and was held 6-10 March 2023.

The workshop attracted 71 Expressions of Interest from ECRs based in 20 countries and regions (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, the Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, the UK, the USA, Zimbabwe), from which 20 participants were selected.

The 5-day programme included talks by invited speakers, facilitated group discussions, and a writing surgery session.

•    On Day 1, Dr. Paul Kratoska (former Director of NUS Press) shared his insights on the state of academic publishing, how to get started with academic writing for publication, and the common mistakes authors make.
•    On Day 2, participants discussed the challenges they faced in writing and publishing, while the facilitators shared their tips and advice.
•    On Day 3, Professor Helen Nesadurai (School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia) shared her insights on what journal editors and reviewers look for in submissions and the critical importance of authors positioning their articles.
•    On Day 4, the participants were divided into small groups and given individual feedback on their submitted draft manuscripts. The discussants were: Dr. Rachel Jacobs (Dickinson College), Dr. Sol Iglesias (Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines), Dr. Susan Leong (independent researcher), Dr. Koh Sin Yee, and Dr. Mai Truong.
•    On Day 5, the participants engaged in a facilitated discussion on what they have learnt from the online workshop, and how they will apply what they learnt in their writing practice.

The main advice and tips related to academic writing and publishing for ECRs are summarised in the following graphic illustration.