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.
The reader’s job is to pay attention and remember what they read.Tags: 95 Theses Rap AnswersHow To Write A Essay ParagraphThesis For English MajorsHow To Write An Essay For ScholarshipDevelopments In Transportation EssayEssay On Small BusinessHow To Write A Financial Plan For A Small Business
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.
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.
Examples such as this are not uncommon: “Though not inclusive, this paper provides a useful review of the well-known methods of physical oceanography using as examples various research that illustrates the methodological challenges that give rise to successful solutions to the difficulties inherent in oceanographic research.” Why not this instead: “We review methods of oceanographic research with examples that reveal specific challenges and solutions”?
And if the prose muddies the science, the writer has not only failed to convey their idea, but they’ve also made the reader work so hard that they have alienated him or her.One of the most important is omitting crucial information from the methods section.It’s easy to do, especially in a complicated study, but missing information can make it difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce the study. It’s also important that the paper’s claims are consistent with collected evidence.Clarity is the sole obligation of the science writer, yet I find constantly that the ‘What’s new’ element is buried. There is a German concept known as the ‘red thread’, which is the straight line that the audience follows from the introduction to the conclusion. The result is turgid or obfuscatory writing that sounds defensive, with too many caveats and long lists — as if the authors are writing to fend off criticism that hasn’t been made yet.When they write for a journal gatekeeper rather than for a human being, the result is muddy prose.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.Think about the message you want to give to readers.If that is not clear, misinterpretations may arise later.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.