METM10 presentation     Thread: Promising practices

Overcoming cultural barriers through editorial training

Paola De Castro, Daniela Marsili, Federica Napolitani, Elisabetta Poltronieri, Anna Maria Rossi, Sandra Salinetti -” Rome, Italy

Background: Effective communication of knowledge is of utmost importance in every field, but it is crucial in scientific and biomedical publications, where an unclear message could lead to serious consequences. The editorial process involved in publishing a scientific paper plays a key role in ensuring quality and clarity of contents, including data presentation. Editors, authors and peer-reviewers share many responsibilities and, though coming from different cultural backgrounds, should collaborate effectively to remove any obstacle to open, informative, and accurate knowledge communication.

Purpose: This presentation will discuss how editorial training can enhance the sharing of knowledge and overcome cultural barriers.

Solutions and practices: The Publishing Unit of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (the National Institute of Health in Italy) takes the greatest care in developing editorial training. This activity involves organizing courses addressed to researchers to cover essential knowledge, skills and techniques; producing translations of useful editorial documents and guidelines -“ such as the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (, and the Guidelines for the Production of Scientific and Technical Reports (; promoting their use among national editors and authors; and collaborating with national and international institutions and agencies in disseminating good editorial practice.

A cross-border training experience is underway within the Project NECOBELAC ( coordinated by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità. In this project European and Latin American/Caribbean institutions cooperate to improve and share knowledge on scientific writing as well as awareness on open access publication models to create new opportunities for information diffusion in public health. Within this context, particular attention should be given to cultural barriers and to the challenge of sharing knowledge and experiences in different languages, according to local traditions and needs. The experience of the first NECOBELAC training course for trainers (held in São Paulo, Brazil, in April 2010) will be reported, stressing the use of conceptual maps as an innovative training strategy (


All the authors of this contribution work at the Publishing Unit of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità.

Paola De Castro is head of the Publishing Unit of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (, the National Institute of Health in Italy) and a member of various editorial committees of scientific journals. She coordinates the European Project NECOBELAC (, involving the creation of a network between Europe and Latin America to develop training activities in scientific writing and open access publication models.

Federica Napolitani gained her experience and knowledge in editing as editorial coordinator of the science journal Annali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanità, as assistant editor to the Journal of the European Association for Health Information and Libraries (JEAHIL) and as a member of the Editorial Committee of Health Information and Library Journal (HILJ).

Daniela Marsili has a background in Social and Economic Sciences for International Cooperation and Development. Her studies are particularly relevant for developing access and diffusion of information in public health as a determinant of health. She participates in the European Project NECOBELAC.

Elisabetta Poltronieri deals with the bibliographic control of material indexed in DSpace ISS (, the open-access compliant, digital institutional repository, archiving publications by internal research staff and by Italian research institutions, partners of the Istituto.

Anna Maria Rossi is on the editorial staff of the ISS bulletin (Notiziario dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanità) and collaborates in publishing leaflets on ISS activities.

Sandra Salinetti helps authors to prepare, edit and review their documents for publication in institutional series (in particular Rapporti ISTISAN). She also provides training in scientific writing, especially technical reports.