Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Sell no manuscript before its time

January 18, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Publishing, Writing  

This classic TV advertisement from the late 1970s features Orson Welles proclaiming that Paul Masson winery will not sell its wine until it is ready. Unfortunately, many authors “sell” their manuscript to journals before they are ready to enter peer review. The manuscripts are often sloppy, lacking careful proofreading. References are not in the proper […]

More on plain writing in the government

January 9, 2014   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

Regular reader Brian Curran sends us this link on the Plain Writing Act and the results thereof, following up on earlier discussions of clear language in government writing. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/11/19/plain-writing-in-government-agencies-plainly-speaking-arent-there-yet/ As the report card from the Center for Plain Language shows, NOAA gets a D for “Plain Writing”, although which documents were used was not stated […]

Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims

November 21, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Resources, Reviewing, Writing  

This Comment in Nature today by William Sutherland, David Spiegelhalter, and Mark Burgman is meant as a primer for policy makers who need to interpret science, but I would argue that this primer is also useful for scientists who might fall into this trap of overinterpreting or misinterpreting results in their own or others’ studies. […]

From the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding” Category…

November 11, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Humor, Writing  

I wonder if these authors chose this title, just to get the attention. Anyway, here it is.

10 grammar rules you can forget: how to stop worrying and write proper

October 6, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

Jim Steenburgh sent me this article from The Guardian about “what pop music can teach you about building sentences.”

How to read and understand a scientific paper

August 31, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Reviewing, Writing  

Brian Curran sends along this great blog post about how to read and understand a scientific paper. The subtitle is a guide for nonscientists, but Brian points out that even scientists could benefit from this information. In fact, I would say that many of the questions asked by the author are valuable in constructing a […]

Help readers find your article online: Search engine optimization

August 10, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Publishing, Writing  

The point of writing a scientific article is to get it read. How do you ensure that your article will reach the largest possible audience? Search engine optimization. I found this web page from Wiley about how to optimize your article for search engines. Optimizing your article for search engines will greatly increase its chance […]

Speaking and writing so your audience understands you

August 10, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

Brian Curran forwarded me this article about how to communicate with the public in active voice using straightforward, easy-to-understand language. Reading this article took me back to my time in Finland a few years ago. I loved to use colorful language and turns of phrases when I lived in the U.S. Then, in Finland, I […]

Every sentence in your scientific paper should meet these criteria.

July 25, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

Each sentence should be clear Each sentence should make sense. Each sentence should be supported by evidence. If you can’t defend it, remove it.

An example of eloquent science (V. E. Suomi 1979)

July 1, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Potpourri, Writing  

The following text was written in 1979 by Verner E. Suomi from the Foreword of the report Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment. Truly eloquent science! Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment. Report of an Ad Hoc Study Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate to the Climate Research Board, Assembly of Mathematical and […]

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