The ISAJE-PARINT online mentoring scheme for authors

Aims of the mentoring scheme

The mentoring system is targeted at enterprising investigators working in environments without a history of relevant research. The aim is to make available one-to-one support for such researchers who do not have access to suitable mentors within their own institutions. It is a system for facilitating publication of completed work and does not aim to provide support for the design and execution of studies. Any research that is potentially publishable in one or more of the addiction journals in the PARINT database is appropriate. The core of the service is a database of established researchers who have offered their services as mentors; their assistance of a mentor can be requested for developing manuscripts for publication in peer-review journals.

Investigators working in institutions that lack a history of writing for peer-review journals are often unable to obtain guidance when preparing their work for publication. Such institutions are most commonly located in low- or middle-income countries although creative and ambitious people in even the most technologically advanced countries are sometimes located in universities that fulfil primarily a teaching role and do not have an adequate research infrastructure. Without a strong record of research achievement, such individuals find it difficult to break into research-orientated universities; this scheme is intended to facilitate the jumping of this hurdle.

Individuals who wish to take advantage of this opportunity will have access to the database of mentors which enables them to contact appropriate experts and then proceed to set up a mentor-mentee relationship. There is no charge for this service.

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Who are the mentors?

Mentors are registered and approved by an Assessment Panel operated by ISAJE. Registration and approval ensures that mentors are appropriate for the task. Mentors are senior members of the academic or research staff of a university or research institute and have a substantive record of publications in high-quality peer-review journals over a period of at least five years. Mentors will have strong national reputations in their areas of expertise and, in many cases, will be recognized internationally as leaders of the field. They will include members of the advisory or editorial boards of scientific journals and may themselves be editors and the recipients of other indicators of esteem from the scientific community.

Entering into a mentor-mentee relationship implies that the mentor has certain responsibilities to the mentor that take account both of practical considerations (such as availability and expertise to do the task) and of ethical issues. The ethical considerations arise from the importance of publications for the development of both the field and the mentee's career. An account of the mentor's responsibilities and rewards is available.

Applications for mentor status are assessed by a panel of ISAJE Officers and Board members. The panel is chaired by the manager of the PARINT website. The President of ISAJE is an ex officio member of the panel. There will be three to five other members drawn from the ISAJE Board. Applications are assessed electronically by email. The Chair and panel members have 14 days in which to vote for or against an application, or to abstain. Non-responders will be deemed to have abstained. Approval will require a simple majority of those voting. If there is a tie, the Chair will determine the outcome. Panel decisions are final and are not negotiable. An individual may apply more than once, but an interval of at least one year must pass between successive applications.

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Who are the mentees?

Mentees are people at a rather early career stage who have data that they want to publish in a peer-reviewed academic journal but (i) have little or no experience in writing for such publications and (ii) do not have a suitable mentor available in their own institution. Such individuals would have completed a piece of research and have the primary role in getting it disseminated to their peers and other interested parties. They would anticipate being the first author of any publication that would occur. The current status of mentees may therefore range upwards from recent graduates who have carried out research for a PhD, through postdoctoral fellows and researchers, to junior academics. Mid-career academics aiming to expand the scope of their activities would also be considered. Potential mentees should obtain the approval of any relevant manager, supervisor or advisor in their institution before applying.

Mentors have the right to decline spurious requests such as those from individuals lacking an appropriate institutional affiliation, people whom they deem not to be serious about research in the area, or those whose field of research is too far from that covered by the mentor's expertise.

An account of the mentees responsibilities is available.

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How will mentors and mentees communicate with each other?

Any conventional method of communication may be used, such as printed mail, email and telephone. Email will probably be the most convenient and economical in most cases. A mentor may be located at considerable distances from a mentee, and they would quite often be in different countries or continents, making conventional phone calls both inconvenient (due to time zones) and expensive. If verbal communication is especially desirable, then consideration should be given to using one of the Voice over Internet Protocols (for example, Skype®) where there are no charges other than any arising from internet access. It should be noted that a fast broadband connection is needed for these services.

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Setting up a new mentoring relationship

The initiative resides with potential mentees to make contact with a mentor selected from the experts listed in our database. The mentee has access to the database which can be searched by subject areas. Searches will yield the names of one or more possible mentors together with contact details. The mentee can then choose which mentor to approach. Additional information about mentors can easily be obtained by internet searches of standard bibliographic databases such as MEDLINE (e.g. via PubMed) and from the website of the mentor's institution.

The application form should be completed online if you want to apply for a mentor.

  • Your name, main qualifications, current post and professional address.
  • Summary indicating the research questions addressed, outline of methods used, and main conclusions from it. If the work has been presented at a meeting, an abstract of the presentation may be submitted.

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Disclaimer

ISAJE operates this mentoring scheme as part of its mission to the addictions research community. Guidance and advice will be given through it in good faith and with the best of intentions, but no guarantee can be given that participation in the scheme will necessarily result in acceptance of any manuscripts that are submitted for publication. Neither ISAJE nor the mentors will indemnify mentees with respect to any consequential losses or damages alleged to result from the use of the mentoring service.

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