Enhancing the research and publication efforts of health sciences librarians via an academic writing retreat

John W. Bullion, Stewart M. Brower


Background: This case study describes the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCC/MLA) initiative to develop an academic writing retreat for members who sought the necessary time and support to advance their research projects toward publication.

Case Presentation: SCC/MLA staged a dedicated writing retreat to coincide with the organization’s 2012, 2013, and 2014 annual meetings. Each cohort met over two days to write and to workshop their peers’ manuscripts. Organizers distributed an online survey one month after each retreat to evaluate attendees’ perceptions.

Conclusions: Three years’ worth of writing retreats yielded fourteen peer-reviewed articles and one book chapter. Participants indicated that the retreat helped them meet or exceed their writing goals by offering protected time and a setting conducive to productivity. The format of the retreat is cost effective and easily adaptable for fellow professionals who wish to organize a formal event as a conference offering or simply support a writing group at their home institutions. In SCC/MLA, the retreat revitalized interest in writing and demystified the scholarly publication process.


Writing; Manuscripts as Topic; Periodicals as Topic; Publications; Authorship; Libraries, Medical; Research

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2017.320


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Copyright (c) 2017 John W. Bullion, Stewart M. Brower

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