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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does the Office of Scientific Writing (OSW) offer to UTHSC investigators?

How do I use the services of the OSW?

How do I submit my document to OSW?

Does the OSW provide editing services for other documents?

Is there a fee for the OSW editing service?

Does the OSW provide writing assistance for all UTHSC campus locations?

What is the turnaround time for OSW assistance – when can I expect to receive my edited proposal or manuscript back from OSW?

What if I have an “emergency” deadline, due to unforeseen problems with writing, or with the sponsor– can I negotiate an “emergency” two - or three-day turnaround?

What is iThenticate?

How do I access and use iThenticate?

Is the OSW service only for faculty? Can postdocs and students use the OSW?

Can students receive assistance in writing papers for coursework or for dissertations?

Will the OSW provide any training for proposal or manuscript writing, in addition to providing editing services?

Answers


What does the Office of Scientific Writing (OSW) offer to UTHSC investigators?

The OSW provides a variety of services pertaining to research documents. Copy editing services include a comprehensive review of grammar, sentence structure, English usage, clarity, consistency, conciseness, and adherence to a style guide.  Scientific writing services include a more extensive, detailed review that includes copy editing in addition to clear descriptions of data figures and tables, crafting of hypotheses, logical flow and use of appropriate terminology, improving the strength and/or persuasiveness of arguments, grant smithing/grantsmanship, documentation and reference management, and identification of appropriate target journals for submission of manuscripts. Investigators are reminded that the end product remains their own work and that all recommended revisions are suggestions that can be adopted at the investigators’ discretion. 

How do I use the services of the OSW?

Simply fill out the OSW service request form and upload the document you wish edited. Please be sure to include figures, figure legends, and tables. The OSW will send you a revised draft back to you by email (Note: email will be from either the OSW or InfoReady Review).

How do I submit my document to OSW?

  1. Review guidelines and collect all required application materials.
  2. Fill out the OSW service request form.
  3. Upload the document to be edited (MS Word) and the iThenticate report (pdf), following the prompts. If desired, upload your reference library, reviewers’ comments or summary statement, and any other materials you would like us to review.
  4. Once you submit your request, you will receive an automated email confirmation. If you do not receive this message, please contact Kyle Johnson.

Does the OSW provide editing services for other documents?

OSW will review other professional writing, which includes not only grants and manuscripts, but forms of research productivity such as meeting abstracts, presentations, safety protocols for IBC, IRB, or IACUC submissions, biosketches, resource or equipment sections for grants, draft letters of support, and some book chapters. However, we are unable to edit book chapters or other materials for which the authors will be paid.
 
The OSW is unable to help compose or edit budgets or budget justifications. For help with these documents, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Is there a fee for the OSW editing service?

No, OSW editing services are free to UTHSC investigators.

Does the OSW provide writing assistance for all UTHSC campus locations?

Yes, we assist faculty, post-doctoral staff, and students working on our Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville campuses.

What is the turnaround time for OSW assistance – when can I expect to receive my edited proposal or manuscript back from OSW?

Turnaround time for a project is approximately 2 weeks, depending on our volume and the complexity of the services requested. Projects will be completed in the order in which they are received, although grant proposals with a defined submission date will be given priority if they are submitted at least one week before the internal Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) deadline, which is usually 5-7 days before the funding agency due date. Please inform us of your requested delivery date for your revised draft (and any internal or external deadlines) at the time of your initial request.

What if I have an “emergency” deadline, due to unforeseen problems with writing, or with the sponsor– can I negotiate an “emergency” two - or three-day turnaround?

Inform us at the time of submission when you have a hard deadline that is imminent, and we will do our best to provide a faster turnaround. This may not be possible if the pipeline is already full, or we are already processing multiple “emergency” submissions.

What is iThenticate?

iThenticate is an online plagiarism detection service; UTHSC investigators have free access. iThenticate prevents you from directly quoting too much material from another source, including your own previous publications. OSW REQUIRES that you submit your project to iThenticate before submitting it to OSW and/or to a journal or funding agency. Work will not commence on your project until the iThenticate report is submitted via the online portal. 

How do I access and use iThenticate?

  1. Log in to iThenticate.
  2. Under "Submit a Document", select "Upload a File" or other applicable option and follow the prompts.
  3. You can check the progress of the analysis in the My Documents folder. While in progress, the Report column will say “Saving” and then “Processing.” 
  4. When the analysis is complete, a shaded box will appear in the Report column marked with a number and a % symbol. 
  5. The number in this box reflects the percentage of your document’s contents that iThenticate was able to locate in a search of the internet. If the number is very high, you may need to revise your document to reduce it. OSW can help with this. Often the number is inflated by the bibliography section of a manuscript or grant proposal, as most references already appear on the internet somewhere. Click the box to access your report. 
  6. A new document review window will open in iThenticate. The Match Overview section of the report will show you what elements of your document match existing wording on the internet and the source where that wording was found. 
  7. Select the printer icon at bottom left to download a pdf file of your iThenticate report.
  8. Upload the resulting report to the OSW Portal during document submission.

Is the OSW service only for faculty? Can postdocs and students use the OSW?

Services are open to UTHSC faculty, post-doctoral, and graduate student investigators. Students, postdoctoral fellows, and residents needing assistance with grants and manuscripts should solicit their mentor's permission prior to submission. We are unable to edit projects for student courses.

Can students receive assistance in writing papers for coursework or for dissertations?

The OSW prioritizes services pertaining to basic and clinical research including grant proposals seeking extramural funding, regulatory documents, and manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals. The OSW is unable to edit dissertation materials but can edit dissertation-related materials that are being prepared for publication in a scientific journal.  OSW is unable to edit projects for student courses unless they will be submitted for publication. Resources for writing all types of scientific content can be found on the OSW website. 

Will the OSW provide any training for proposal or manuscript writing, in addition to providing editing services?

The OSW does not provide face-to-face training, although the OSW Director is available to present about our services at departmental meetings, either in person or by Zoom. A self-paced curriculum in scientific writing is available in the form of e-books, printed resources, and files and websites that can assist you in your quest to become a better scientific writer. See the Resources tab or the UTHSC Library Research Guide for these and other helpful resources. Once you have reviewed these training options, contact OSW if you need further guidance in designing your self-training regimen.

 

 

 

Sep 26, 2022