Over 100 researchers from the ERDB Divisions and Research Development and Extension Centers (RDECs) participated in the 2021 Sylvatrop Webinar titled “Covering the Gaps through the Literature Review” on August 13, 2021 via Zoom. The half-day activity aimed to capacitate the ERDB researchers on writing a literature review fit for publication in scientific technical journals like Sylvatrop. This was spearheaded by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) and members of the Sylvatrop Editorial Board (SEB).

In his Welcoming Remarks, ERDB Director and Sylvatrop Executive Adviser Henry A. Adornado reminded the participants that the publication of studies is the crucial goal of research institutions such as the ERDB, as these studies serve as the basis of policy formulation and technology dissemination. Furthermore, he encouraged the participants to be resourceful in writing and producing research articles in the midst of the pandemic.

The Technology Transfer Division (TTD) Chief Juan B. Ebora presented a brief overview of the activity and highlighted the importance of literature review as it plays a fundamental role in strengthening a study’s research validity. Mr. Ebora added that the webinar shall serve as a refresher for the participants who want to publish research results of their studies. He also reassured the researchers that the Sylvatrop Editorial Team and Secretariat are always open to assist the researchers in processing the approval and publication of their research articles.

In behalf of the ERDB Assistant Director and Sylvatrop Editor-in-Chief Mayumi Quintos-Natividad, Sylvatrop Managing Editor Adreana Santos-Remo presented Sylvatrop’s background overview. This included a quick run-down of Sylvatrop’s history, status and pending applications for international journal accreditation, composition of the SEB, staff, and editorial team, and descriptive data on the sources and themes of articles in the pipeline.

Sylvatrop Science Editor Liberty E. Asis conducted an interactive discussion on writing the literature review for scientific journal articles. Ms. Asis began the activity by asking the participants’ experiences and challenges in writing the literature review. Some of the participants replied that the literature review takes the most time to write, occasionally authors encounter conflicting comments from the technical reviewers and contrasting findings from various sources, and that secure access to reliable sources is often expensive. Ms. Asis then shared some pointers on writing the literature review, including its description, importance, and structure. To conclude the discussion, Ms. Asis reassured the participants that although daunting, writing a research article simply begins with a single step.

Ms. Remo discussed the main guidelines, general rules, and tips for citing sources using the Council of Science Editors (CSE) Manual 8th Edition. Ms. Remo also highlighted the importance of citing sources which include due credit to contributors, provide readers with references, build credibility, and avoid plagiarism.

ERDB Librarian Maricel E. Villaruel shared that ERDB’s EBSCOHost exists primarily to serve the researchers within the Bureau and offers the most long-term institutional subscription compared to other academic databases. She added that EBSCOHost is one of the most reliable sources of information and may aid researchers who expressed their problems regarding inaccessible online literature. She then proceeded to explain the step-by-step process of using the EBSCOHost and shared the ERDB Library contact information for further assistance.

To relax and reset the minds of the participants after the lectures, Sylvatrop Assistant Secretariat Anne Gellie L. Nuñez led the energizer. This lasted for about 10 minutes and included breathing and stretching exercises.

Two (2) open forums were held to punctuate each pair of lectures, facilitated by Sylvatrop Secretariat Carmela Kris A. Armilla. One of the participants, Mr. Alvin Angelo Salting, shared in the first forum that although Wikipedia should be used with caution, the references section of each page could be useful in providing a bird’s eye view of the subject matter in which the reader may be redirected to the page’s more reliable sources. Dr. Padin suggested that for some inaccessible sources, the researcher may request a copy via email from the author of the literature. In the second open forum, Dr. Padin shared that he has personally used Zotero and Mendeley plug-ins in preparing his CSE literature citations and recommended this to the rest of the participants as a convenient CSE citation generator.

In behalf of For. Quintos-Natividad, Mr. Ebora delivered the closing remarks for the webinar. He shared that the Assistant Director and Sylvatrop Editor in Chief is thankful to the Sylvatrop Editorial Team and Secretariat for working behind the success of the learning activity. Mr. Ebora added that the For. Quintos-Natividad hopes that the activity has effectively refreshed and inspired the participants to publish their studies, as ERDB is first and foremost a knowledge and data-driven institution. Mr. Ebora assured the audience that Sylvatrop and the ERDB will always be open to support and accommodate the concerns of its researchers.

Carmela Kris A. Armilla, TTD