World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Scientific writing

Article Id: WHEBN0004541652
Reproduction Date:

Title: Scientific writing  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Scientific journal, Scientific literature, Scientific literacy, Academic publishing in China, William Beebe
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Scientific writing

Scientific writing is writing for science.[1]


Scientific writing in English started in the 14th century.[2]

The Royal Society established good practice for scientific writing. Founder member Thomas Sprat wrote on the importance of plain and accurate description rather than rhetorical flourishes in his History of the Royal Society of London. Robert Boyle emphasized the importance of not boring the reader with a dull, flat style.[1]

Because most scientific journals accept manuscripts only in English, an entire industry has developed to help non-native English speaking authors improve their text before submission. It is just now becoming an accepted practice to utilize the benefits of these services. This is making it easier for scientists to focus on their research and still get published in top journals.

Besides the customary readability tests, software tools relying on Natural Language Processing to analyze text help writer scientists evaluate the quality of their manuscripts prior to submission to a journal. SWAN, a Java app written by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland is such a tool.[3]

Writing style guides

Different fields have different conventions for writing style, and individual journals within a field usually have their own style guides.

Some style guides for scientific writing recommend against use of the passive voice, while some encourage it.[4][5]

Some journals prefer using "we" rather than "I" as personal pronoun. Note that "we" sometimes includes the reader, for example in mathematical deductions.

Publication of research results is the global measure used by all disciplines to gauge a scientist’s level of success.

In the mathematical sciences, it is customary to report in the present tense.[6]

In the chemical sciences, drawing chemistry is as fundamental as writing chemistry. The point is clearly made by 1981 Nobel Prize-winning chemist Roald Hoffmann.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b Joseph E. Harmon, Alan G. Gross, "On Early English Scientific Writing", The scientific literature 
  2. ^ Irma Taavitsainen, Päivi Pahta, Medical and scientific writing in late medieval English 
  3. ^ "Scientific Writing Assistant". April 2012. 
  4. ^ Day, Robert; Sakaduski, Nancy (30 June 2011). Scientific English: A Guide for Scientists and Other Professionals, Third Edition. ABC-CLIO.  
  5. ^ Dawson, Chris (2007). "Prescriptions and proscriptions. The three Ps of scientific writing – past, passive and personal". Teaching Science: The Journal Of The Australian Science Teachers Association 53 (2): 36–38. 
  6. ^ Nicholas J. Higham, 1998. Handbook of writing for the mathematical sciences. Philadelphia: Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. p. 56
  7. ^ Hoffmann, Roald (2002). "Writing (and Drawing) Chemistry". In Jonathan Monroe. Writing and Revising the Disciplines. Cornell University Press. pp. 29–53. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.