Interviews with Outstanding Authors (2024)

Posted On 2024-04-23 20:04:45

In 2024, many JHMHP authors make outstanding contributions to our journal. Their articles published with us have received very well feedback in the field and stimulate a lot of discussions and new insights among the peers.

Hereby, we would like to highlight some of our outstanding authors who have been making immense efforts in their research fields, with a brief interview of their unique perspective and insightful view as authors.

Outstanding Authors (2024)

Grégoire Mercier, Montpellier University Hospital, France

Mohamed Nabeeh Ibrahim, University of Malaya, Malaysia

Alexandra Gomes, LSE Cities, UK

Peter J. Marcotullio, City University of New York (CUNY), USA

Outstanding Author

Grégoire Mercier

Dr. Grégoire Mercier is head of the Data Science team at the Montpellier University Hospital and a researcher associated with IDESP (UMR UA11 INSERM/University of Montpellier). His work focuses on the impact of the environment on health and the analysis of social and geographical inequalities in access to healthcare. He is co-founder of KanopyMed, a start-up developing individual and population-based decision support tools by applying artificial intelligence methods to different health data sources. As a public health physician by training, he holds a Master's degree in Health Economics (London Schools of Economics) and a PhD in Economics and Management (University of Montpellier). He was awarded the Commonwealth Fund's Harkness Fellowship to work at Harvard Medical School during 2018-2019. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

In Dr. Mercier’s view, a good academic paper significantly contributes to bridging the gap between science and policy. He says, “Academic writing is fascinating as it enables complex ideas and concepts to be conveyed in short texts.”

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)

Mohamed Nabeeh Ibrahim

Mohamed Nabeeh Ibrahim hails from the scenic islands of the Maldives. Recently, he achieved a milestone in his academic journey by completing the research thesis for his Master of Arts in media and communication studies from the esteemed University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. During his academic journey at the University of Malaya, Mohamed focused his research project on crisis communication and its connection with public health. His thesis delved deep into effective public health communication during a public health emergency and the usage of social media in the domain of crisis communication. Driven by a passion for leveraging the power of communication, especially the power of social media communication for societal well-being, Mohamed’s current interest lies at the crossroads of social media and public health research. He is particularly interested in exploring the potential of social media for health promoters and health institutions as a tool for social marketing. With a keen interest in bridging communication theories with practical applications in public health communication, Mohamed is driven to make meaningful contributions to both academia and the broader field of public health communication. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.

According to Mohamed, one of the most essential elements in a good academic paper is attention to detail in writing, even to minute details such as keywords used in the manuscript to the title of the paper. A lot of times, academicians are so invested in writing a compelling paper that they forget the main purpose of academic research and academic papers, which is to relay information and provide new knowledge to the field and other researchers and whoever is interested in a particular area of research. Therefore, he believes it is important to have a detailed focus on writing a cohesive and coherent paper that is easy to read and comprehend. A research paper might have fascinating findings or interesting new methods, but if the academic paper is not written in a way that is easily understandable, it might not be able to contribute to the field that it could have. The paper has to be written in a detailed and understandable manner so that the paper is easy to reproduce by inquisitive researchers. He adds, “So when I am writing papers, I keep a special focus on writing in an explicable way, that even new researchers or keen public could take away something from my work.”

In Mohamed’s view, there are a few things that authors should bear in mind during preparation of a paper. Firstly, a researcher has to be on top of the current research published in the field of the paper. It is extremely crucial to read and understand the newest papers published in the area of research the researcher is writing about. This would help the author in having in-depth knowledge about the field of research, which would greatly contribute to the quality of the paper. Secondly, the author must understand the audience to make sure the paper is written in a way that is tailored to the recipients. This includes the writing style, terminology used, and technical details involved, including the level of technical facets to ensure the engagement and comprehension of the paper. Thirdly, the author has to be open to feedback. Peer reviewing and feedback is a crucial process in publishing a quality academic paper, so all authors have to understand the role of peer review and feedback while using feedback as a pathway to further enhance the paper. When faced with scrutiny, authors should keep an open mind and take the paper further ahead with the feedback received so that the paper could provide more value to the readers and contribute better to the broader field of research. Other than these, he emphasizes that all authors must ensure the paper falls within the ethical guidelines of the research field and provide accurate data, analysis, and interpretations, maintaining the papers credibility and integrity.

While choosing a journal to publish, I always look into the quality of papers published in a particular journal in the field related to the paper. JHMHP has numerous quality papers published that greatly contribute to the field of public health and hospital management. With quality papers comes credibility, and JHMHP is recognized as a reputable and credible journal within the field of hospital management and public health. Publishing my paper in a respected journal such as JHMHP enhances the visibility and credibility of my work, potentially leading to a greater impact and recognition while making a meaningful contribution to the field of public health communication,” says Mohamed.

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)

Alexandra Gomes

Alexandra Gomes is a Research Fellow responsible for coordinating spatial analysis across a range of projects at LSE Cities. She holds strong interdisciplinary skills, and her focus spans socio-spatial comparative analysis and urban policy with an interest in sustainable mobility, health inequalities, public space, urban sensescapes, and visual communication. She has led and coordinated research projects across diverse scales and geographies, spanning Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. She is also an LSE Data Science Institute (DSI) Affiliate and an LSE Middle East Centre Associate. Dr. Gomes is currently working on a project on (De)constructing health & wellbeing through data and has co-led two projects on the impact of car-centric development in the Gulf: the Public Space in Kuwait project and the Roads as Tools for (Dis)connecting Cities and Neighbourhoods project. To promote awareness of better public space design and walkability in Kuwait, she co-authored the Kuwaitscapes card game. Learn more about her here.

JHMHP: What are the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing?

Dr. Gomes: There are many challenges in academic writing. It is a lengthy process, and you need to follow the rules of the 'game.' The first one that I deal with constantly is time. To be able to write an academic paper, you need time. As an academic, you are often submerged in work, from conducting research to writing grant applications or teaching and marking assignments. Time is not something that you have in abundance—especially in a research career. Then, when you finally have the time, you face the entire process of writing and getting it published. This whole process requires a combination of discipline, patience, and perseverance, where all three should go hand in hand. To make your life easier, you should choose the journal in advance to format your writing according to the journal's guidelines and layout rules. Thus, finding the right journal (one that accepts your manuscript) is crucial so that after you've written your manuscript, it can be accepted and go through the peer-review process. However, finding the right journal is not as easy as it seems, and the peer-review process can also be challenging. These are not minor difficulties, but they are also not insuperable. So, if you want to publish, I would say, “Just go for it!”

JHMHP: Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. Can you share tips on selecting the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis?

Dr. Gomes: Being concise without losing the main information and focus is a significant challenge, as often, you have a lot to say with limited words available. Following the structure of the journal helps you understand the word count limitations and frequently provides guidance on paragraph names and structure to follow. This can assist in understanding where to expand or condense the content. Secondly, deciding on the focus of your article and maintaining it throughout your narrative is crucial. The more focused you remain, the easier it should be to write concisely. The development of the text depends on your own writing technique. I employ a mix of methods; sometimes, I write freely without regard for word count and then edit to meet the limit, while other times, I use bullet points and word limit labels as guides. However, regardless of the approach, I engage in multiple rounds of writing, rewriting, and reading until I achieve a focused narrative that aligns with the paper's aim and journal guidelines. In my experience, positive peer reviews, such as the feedback received on the paper submitted with my co-author Ricky Burdett (from research funded by Impact on Urban Health) to this journal, are invaluable. The reviewer’s constructive criticism and suggestions for improving focus and evidence synthesis have helped us enhance the quality of our work.

JHMHP: Is it important for authors to disclose Conflict of Interest (COI)? To what extent would a COI influence research?

Dr. Gomes: Disclosing COIs is fundamental for transparency throughout the academic process and ensures the trustworthiness of its results. I also think that independent peer review is a crucial tool for mitigating potential compromises stemming from COIs.

The extent of that conflict depends on the individual and how it might influence or compromise the research results. Therefore, transparency not only demonstrates an intent of integrity and credibility from the researcher, but also enables all readers to understand the underlying factors, potential biases, and influences, empowering them to make their own judgments on the final output.

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)

Peter J. Marcotullio

Peter J. Marcotullio is a Professor of Geography at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY), Director of the Center for Sustainable Cities at Hunter College, Associate of the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), and a faculty member of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Recent research projects include heat, flooding, and energy security vulnerability studies in New York City. Recent assessment work includes co-chair of the Energy Working Group for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA) Climate Assessment, member of the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC4), and chapter lead in the Second North American State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2). He is the co-editor-in-chief of Urban Climate (Elsevier). Get to know more about Prof. Marcotullio through his homepage, Google Scholar and ResearchGate.

JHMHP: What are the essential elements of a good academic paper?

Prof. Marcotullio: It is a challenge for me to write a well-crafted paper quickly. Hence, I am biased in thinking about important aspects of paper writing. Writing an academic paper takes time, which seems to be a luxury nowadays. The drive to publish, get tenure, and increase citation counts often overcomes careful construction and publication of papers. There are many reasons for taking time to write or re-write an academic paper. I speak from experience, as I can see in my work when rushed to finish a paper, I did not fully develop my ideas, did not polish sentences, and sometimes made other significant mistakes (for example, submitting the same chart twice for two different figures). It is so important to get the language and figures right. The extra time is well spent, as a thoughtful, well-written paper receives more interest than one noticeably thrown together quickly.

JHMHP: What authors have to bear in mind during preparation of a paper?

Prof. Marcotullio: The critical first steps in preparing a research paper are clearly developing and articulating the research question, the hypothetical answer, and the rationale for why the work is important. Papers are often desk rejected if the authors have not clearly stated their contributions to the literature. The contributions, which a colleague of mine called the "big reveal," grow from the question/hypothesis and the problem being addressed (rationale). Clearly stating these elements will help readers place the work within the literature and make it more understandable. It is also important to keep in mind that only some are as steeped in the literature and the methods as the authors. This requires the author to think through all the details of the background and analysis and provide clearly and fully described components, characterizations, and dynamics. Providing clear and easily understandable figures, tables, and maps is also important for scientific papers. All figures, tables, and maps should be able to “stand-alone”, meaning that if they were taken from the document, the readers would be able to understand the relationships in the figure or table. This can be time-consuming, but well-constructed figures and tables help to secure clarity. Finally, seek out good critical feedback. I define a helpful review as one that identifies both good points and flaws and points to ways to address problems or lack of clarity. I do not find reviews helpful that simply attack or admire work. While it is sometimes difficult to receive criticism, most of the time, the reviewer or colleague is correct in that this is what a colleague perceives. Responding to reviews and criticisms often helps to make the paper better. If there is some issue, element, or method that isn't clear, it is the obligation of the author to correct that and make it so.

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)