The department also holds monthly research meetings where researchers present their projects, and the team describes LORE meetings as a sort of spinoff from these more formal gatherings.
“Each LORE meeting has a research-related topic, but there’s also room for more general discussion. Research is often lonely work, so it’s nice to hear what the others are working on and to encourage each other,” Rouvinen says.
“It’s also a good opportunity for junior researchers to learn from their seniors, which is rewarding for both. I think we have succeeded in creating a safe and supportive atmosphere where it’s easy to ask anything that’s on your mind,” Jokiniemi adds.
“You could almost call it group mentoring,” Syyrilä sums up. “Peer support is really important. Last time, someone pointed out that your paper usually gets accepted only by the third journal or so. I’m sure it was an important reminder to many that rejections are common and that they are not personal failures.”
“Similarly, we can celebrate successes together and tip each other off of funding calls, conference deadlines and job opportunities. It’s especially important for international staff to get a summary of what’s going on,” Nekouei says.
According to Rouvinen, one of the most popular topics so far has been Post Doc Researcher Marja Härkänen’s talk on article writing process and how to get started. “After her insights, we discussed our various experiences and even practical matters, such as which proof reading service to use and how much it costs, which reference softwear each of us prefers, and so on,“ Syyrilä recalls.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meetings have had to go online. “We have also discussed how we are coping with the new working mode and how it affects our research. Personally, I find remote work hard, but others have pointed out some positive aspects as well. Talking about how each of us handles the situation has brought us closer,” Nekouei says.
Some of the topics for the next few LORE meetings include how to choose open access, how to steer clear of predatory journals – and how to unlock your research potential, no less. Many more ideas are sprouting. “For example, several colleagues have said they would like tips on how to build research networks, so that will probably be on the agenda in the future,” Jokiniemi says.
“One idea to put to use once the social distancing is over are Nordic walk meetings. It’s good to get together outside the university premises sometimes,” Nekouei adds.