Language and style

It seems easy to find articles about how to structure an article, but less easy to find things about good use of language in general.   Here are a few things that might help with academic or scientific writing, including choice of words, writing well-structured sentences and paragraphs, and grammar.

Websites:

Scitable: English Communication for Scientists.  Has a section about writing scientific papers, but also general information on communicating as a scientist and sections on oral presentations and interacting at conferences.  Click Table of Contents to see everything.

EASE Toolkit for Authors.  “Guidelines and resources for scientific writing and publishing…” from the European Association of Science Editors.

Writing for publication: an easy to follow guide for nurses interested in publishing their work. [Internet].: Wiley; 2014 [cited 16th March 2017]. Available from: www.wiley-docs.com/HSJ-14-63694_Writing_for_Publication_lowres.pdf.

Higher Education Academy.  Effective research writing: STEM discipline. [Internet].: Higher Education Academy; 2013 [cited 16th March 2017]. Available from: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resource/writing-publication-effective-research-writing-techniques.

Articles

These may need a subscription or access through your library:

Bain BJ, Littlewood TJ, Szydlo RM. The finer points of writing and refereeing scientific articles. Br J Haematol. 2016 Feb;172(3):350-9.

Dixon N. Writing for publication–a guide for new authors. Int J Qual Health Care. 2001 Oct;13(5):417-21.

Fahy K. Writing for publication: argument and evidence. Women Birth. 2008 Sep;21(3):113-7.

Fahy K. Writing for publication: the basics. Women Birth. 2008 Jun;21(2):86-91.

Ridgway G. Writing for publication and avoiding pitfalls. Clin Teach. 2015 Apr;12(2):73-7.

A book

Hall GM. How to write a paper. 5th ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell/BMJ Books; 2013.

which has a chapter on style, or at books about academic writing, study skills or doing a research project.

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February’s Writing Club – Peer review

February’s meeting was an informal peer review session.   Participants were encouraged to bring something they had written, which was then read for comment by another participant.

Keith Nockels from the Clinical Librarian Service facilitated this informal peer review by providing a checklist of things to look for, but participants did all the peer reviewing.   It was good to see writers providing personalised and positive feedback to other writers.

We also talked about the ethics of peer reviewing, if you are reviewing for a journal.   What to do if you suspect fraud or bad practice, and guarding against using information or insights from the paper you are reviewing, were two of the issues.

Some useful resources about peer review:

We also talked about language and style.   Watch for another posting about that.

Watch for the next informal peer review session, something we plan to do again.

 

Top tips #8: Become a peer reviewer

No matter how you might feel about the state of peer review, becoming a peer reviewer could well be a useful way of becoming familiar with the process that papers go through before eventually getting into print. The peer review process can really help to improve an article before publication and therefore make it more relevant and useful to readers.

Elsevier have tips for anyone interested in becoming a reviewer: https://www.elsevier.com/reviewers/becoming-a-reviewer-how-and-why

As you begin to publish in your field, you will become known and as a consequence, invited to complete more peer review work.