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Promoting writing amongst peers: establishing a community of writing practice for early career academics

Skipper, Y; Williams, H; Kent, A; Berry, Donna M; Budds, KM


Y Skipper

Donna M Berry

KM Budds


In the current research-focused climate, academics are facing increasing pressure to produce research outputs. This pressure can prove particularly daunting for early career (EC) academics, who are simultaneously attempting to master new teaching and administrative demands while establishing their own independent research trajectories. Previous reports suggest that academic writing retreats can be an effective way of increasing research outputs. Such retreats generally involve academics from a range of career stages and require expert facilitators. Through organising a series of structured writing events, this project aims to cultivate an enduring community of practice for academic writers. Reflecting on our EC retreat and subsequent writing days with academics from different career stages, we suggest that success hinged on three key factors: (1) A formal structure comprising bounded periods of intense writing, flanked by group reviewing and goal-setting; (2) Co-located writing with participants based in a shared space, away from their usual workstation and distractions; (3) Peer discussions involving participants at a similar career stage. Specifically we found that writing amongst ‘equals’ increased productivity and confidence amongst EC academics.


Skipper, Y., Williams, H., Kent, A., Berry, D. M., & Budds, K. (2017). Promoting writing amongst peers: establishing a community of writing practice for early career academics. Higher Education Research and Development, 36(6), 1194-1207.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 17, 2016
Publication Date Mar 13, 2017
Journal Higher Education Research and Development
Print ISSN 0729-4360
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 6
Pages 1194-1207
Keywords writing retreats, early career academics, communities of practice, academic writing
Publisher URL