How To Write Papers For Journals

There is a narrow line between speculation and evidence-based conclusions.A writer can speculate in the discussion — but not too much. 2017) that lays out structural details for using a context–content–conclusion scheme to build a core concept.

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Everything in the paper should logically and structurally support that idea.

It can be a delight to creatively bend the rules, but you need to know them first.

I encourage scientists to read outside their field to better appreciate the craft and principles of writing. Writers can be stigmatized by mentors, manuscript reviewers or journal editors if they use their own voice.

Beware the curse of ‘zombie nouns’Zoe Doubleday, ecologist, University of Adelaide, Australia; co-author of a paper on embracing creativity and writing accessible prose in scientific publications. Students tell me they are inspired to write, but worry that their adviser won’t be supportive of creativity. We need to take a fresh look at the ‘official style’ — the dry, technical language that hasn’t evolved in decades.

Countless manuscripts are rejected because the discussion section is so weak that it’s obvious the writer does not clearly understand the existing literature.

Writers should put their results into a global context to demonstrate what makes those results significant or original.Always think of your busy, tired reader when you write your paper — and try to deliver a paper that you would enjoy reading yourself. Author Helen Sword coined the phrase ‘zombie nouns’ to describe terms such as ‘implementation’ or ‘application’ that suck the lifeblood out of active verbs. Once the paper has a clear message, I suggest that writers try some vivid language to help to tell the story.Why does scientific writing have to be stodgy, dry and abstract? If we don’t engage that aspect of ourselves, it’s hard to absorb the meaning of what we’re reading. We should engage readers’ emotions and avoid formal, impersonal language. For example, I got some pushback on the title of one of my recent papers: ‘Eight habitats, 38 threats, and 55 experts: Assessing ecological risk in a multi-use marine region’. There’s probably less resistance out there than people might think.In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and Java Script.Manuscripts may have a rigidly defined structure, but there’s still room to tell a compelling story — one that clearly communicates the science and is a pleasure to read.Scientist-authors and editors debate the importance and meaning of creativity and offer tips on how to write a top paper.Keep your message clear Angel Borja, marine scientist at AZTI-Tecnalia, a producer of sustainable business services and goods, Pasaia, Spain; journal editor; author of a series on preparing a manuscript.Prune that purple prose Peter Gorsuch, managing editor, Nature Research Editing Service, London; former plant biologist. It sounds good, but the purpose of a scientific paper is to convey information. My advice is to make the writing only as complex as it needs to be.That said, there are any number of ways of writing a paper that are far from effective.The reader’s job is to pay attention and remember what they read.The writer’s job is to make those two things easy to do. One of the principal problems with writing a manuscript is that your individual voice is stamped out.


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