Aspects of Academic Writing: How to Avoid Mistakes in English Publications

On August 29-30, South Ural State University hosted a master class entitled “Academic Writing Centre: Forming English Language Competencies to Increase the Publication Activity of Russian Researchers” in the Sigma conference hall. The lecture was offered by an expert from Moscow – Elena Bazanova, Candidate of Sciences (Philology), Associate Professor, President of the Association of Academic Writing Experts “National Writing Centres Consortium”, Director of the MISIS Academic Writing Centre, Director of the MIPT Language Training and Testing Centre, Head of the Department of English Philology, RSSU Vice Dean for Research, English language expert of the RAS, and member of the International Writing Centres Association (USA).

The event was held during two days, and several topics were covered: aspects of academic writing and modern tendencies in research publications; requirements of academic journals on formatting and language; analysis of typical mistakes.

“This master class is different from the one 3 held years ago, in 2016. This time, more attention is paid to how to choose a scientific journal which best fits a specific paper to reduce the risk of being turned down. It is important for an article to be comprehensible not only to Russian readers, but to the international academic community as well. We speak about how to transform research from “local” to “global”, or make interesting to researchers of various countries around the world. Because no matter what difficulties we have met on our path, the research that we do should not be shut out of the international research. To this end, we master academic English and rhetoric of academic text,” shared Elena Bazanova.

Head of the SUSU Academic Writing Office Yevgeniya Khabirova spoke about the necessity of this seminar:

“Since SUSU is a participant of 5-100 Academic Excellence Project, one of the key performance indicators is the publication activity of the university staff. The SUSU Academic Writing Office does all it can to help staff improve their abilities in this field and support them in their professional work. Events like today’s master class are very important. They allow us to share our experiences, consolidate information that we already have, stimulate professional growth, and do what we can to help authors with new publications.”

The participants of the master class were the university staff who complete research and want to present their work on the international level with the help of research papers.

“As a representative of the Institute of Law, I can say that lawyers have their own problems in writing articles for journals in Scopus database, and therefore this kind of master class is very useful for us. We plan to publish actively in foreign magazines, but the difference in mentalities imposes some difficulties. In our articles, we would never say “I wrote…” or “I came to a conclusion…” In Russia it is considered to be bad manners, but for foreign journals it is absolutely normal,” said Elizaveta Gromova, Deputy Director for International Partnership of the Institute of Law, associate Professor of business law. “In addition, you don’t often meet lecturers like Elena Bazanova who can make the process of presenting the knowledge so fascinating and interesting. You have to be able to not just provide knowledge, but also strip it of irrelevant academisms, typical for certain fields of knowledge. My colleagues from the Institute of Law and me are really enjoying attending this master class.”

The main focus of the master class was on understanding that knowing English is the least of the problems which authors face. The most important thing is the content. First and foremost, you have to create an academic article of such content, which will allow editors to accept this article (even with the level of English is insufficient), and possibly edit it themselves. The next thing of importance is the mastery of the academic writing style of English and the principles of completing the sort of research that modern researchers and scientists expect.

“The goals that the university has set require appropriate level of training. This is not the first time that the Academic Writing Office has hosted such events, and each year there is bigger demand for them. The seminar itself gradually “untangles” all of the confused thoughts and puts them into the correct order and structure, which can then be used when preparing articles, in English specifically,” commented Sergey Borodin, Associate Professor of the Department of Applied Economics.

The Academic Writing Office would like to thank SUSU Rector Aleksandr Shestakov and Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Chairman of the university’s Academic Excellence Program Andrey Shmidt for their support in organizing this event.

Please direct any questions you may have to the Academic Writing Office:

  • By email donovaev[at]susu[dot]ru;
  • By phone 272-31-56, 272-31-57;
  • In person in Office 514 of the SUSU main building.
Elena Potoroko; photos: Oleg Igoshin
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