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Help readers find your article online: Search engine optimization

August 10, 2013 by  
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 by  
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 by  
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)

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 […]

Why the acknowledgements are important

June 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

This recent article discusses the increasing prevalance of the acknowledgements section in books. It got me thinking about acknowledgements in scientific papers. Some authors use them, others don’t. Some authors thank the reviewers; others don’t. Some authors even thank the Editor; others don’t. Every once in a while you’ll find authors using weather graphics […]

The importance of picking good terminology the first time

May 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

In an early paper that I lead authored, I used the term cold surge to describe the cold front associated with the Superstorm of March 1993. Schultz, D. M., W. E. Bracken, L. F. Bosart, G. J. Hakim, M. A. Bedrick, M. J. Dickinson, and K. R. Tyle, 1997: The 1993 Superstorm cold surge: Frontal […]

A subjective discussion of the meanings of “subjective” and “objective”

April 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

Scientists are objective. Personal bias is not acceptable and interpretation that is subject to the observer is frowned upon. The above statement is the ideal to which we presumably strive to attain as scientists. The reality that we construct in our research is independent of the person doing the research. So, when someone performs some […]

An example of why hyphens are necessary

March 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

The following is an excerpt from an email sent to staff at the University of Manchester. As part of the University’s commitment to creating change in gender equality across the University we are running a half day unconscious bias training session focussed on recruitment and promotion. The following is how it should have been punctuated […]

Can you explain your science using the 1000 most-used words in the English language?

February 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured, Humor, Resources, Writing

Give it a shot here: (The title Up Goer 5 refers to xkcd’s comic of trying to explain the Saturn 5 rocket blueprint using only those 1000 words.) (From Jim Steenburgh and his student John; Image from

Time management skills: Walking

January 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Featured

As time gets ever more precious to me and I have an increasing number of scientific articles that I want to write, I have found that I have had to develop more efficiency in my writing. Naturally, as I’ve becoming more experienced, I spent less time making the same mistakes that I did before. But, […]

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