Guidelines for submitting drafts to Brian

Here are specific guidelines for submitting drafts to me. These guidelines are intended to streamline the process of providing feedback and to most efficiently use your time and mine. Drafts that do not adhere to these guidelines will be returned without review.

If you think I’m being anal, I’m not. As you may already know, grants and manuscripts all have very specific requirements for submission. Failure to heed these requirements can result in the return of your proposal or manuscript without review (wasting everyone’s time). The NSF grant proposal policies and procedures document is 192 pages long and they would love to disqualify you for breaking the rules. It’s an easy way to cull the herd because there are too many good proposals and precious few dollars.

So please follow these steps when submitting drafts to me.

Step 1. File type/name

  • Save files in Microsoft word docx file format so that I can provide track change comments
  • Use the following file naming protocol “Yourlastname_whatisit_year_month_day.docx”
  • “whatisit” above refers to one of the following possibilities:
    • XXXX_outline (for detailed outlines)
    • XXXX_MS (use some consistent descriptor for the manuscript, e.g. PLD_MS)
    • XXXX_Proposal (use some consistent descriptor for the entity, e.g. UMass for official proposals, PADI for external grants)
    • XXXX_CoverLetter (for MS or jobs)

Step 2: Draft document

  • First order of business is to read Brian’s conceptual advice on proposals and manuscripts
  • Second order of business is to draft a detailed outline that provides some structure for your writing (for proposals and MS)
  • Third, read the specific guidelines from the funder/journal prior to drafting your document (“information for authors” for a journal, “proposal guidelines”, etc.)
    • Key considerations:
      • Is there a length limitation?
      • Is there a required format?
      • How are citations, figures, tables handled?
      • Pagination? Line spacing? Line numbers? Font type and size?
  • Fourth, only now should you write the darn thing

Step 3: Insert preamble into document

  • On the first page of the document, below the title and authors/affiliations, write answers to the following questions in the main body text
    1. What is the target journal/funder?
    2. What is the length limit? What is the current draft at?
    3. What kind of feedback are you seeking? (broad brush? conceptual? word smithy? nitty gritty? are you having trouble on a specific section?)

Step 4. Deposit file in cloud

  • All drafts shall be deposited in Box under: Box > Cheng Lab > Student first name > Drafts for Brian > (Proposals/Manuscripts) > “descriptor folder name, e.g. “Ch1”
  • Please create a separate folder for proposals and manuscripts, as well as major projects within each
  • Leave these files/folders here! They are a useful archive. If you wish, you can obviously work from your local drive first, then upload

Step 5. Communicate to Brian 

  • Use Slack to notify Brian that a document is ready for review and the specific file name of the document!
  • Please indicate when you would like to have comments by (please provide lead time!)