The ability to write clearly is critical to any scientific career. The Scientist's Guide to Writing provides practical advice to help scientists become more effective writers so that their ideas have the greatest possible impact. Drawing on his own experience as a scientist, graduate adviser, and editor, Stephen Heard emphasizes that the goal of all scientific writing should be absolute clarity; that good writing takes deliberate practice; and that what many scientists need are not long lists of prescriptive rules but rather direct engagement with their behaviors and attitudes when they write. He combines advice on such topics as how to generate and maintain writing momentum with practical tips on structuring a scientific paper, revising a first draft, handling citations, responding to peer reviews, managing coauthorships, and more. In an accessible, informal tone, The Scientist's Guide to Writing explains essential techniques that students, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career scientists need to write more clearly, efficiently, and easily.
* Emphasizes writing as a process, not just a product* Encourages habits that improve motivation and productivity* Explains the structure of the scientific paper and the function of each part* Provides detailed guidance on submission, review, revision, and publication* Addresses issues related to coauthorship, English as a second language, and more
Stephen B. Heard is professor of biology at the University of New Brunswick in Canada and associate editor of the journal American Naturalist.
Preface vii Part I. What Writing Is 1. On Bacon, Hobbes, and Newton, and the Selfishness of Writing Well 3 2. Genius, Craft, and What This Book Is About 11 Part II. Behavior 3. Reading 17 4. Managing Your Writing Behavior 22 5. Getting Started 30 6. Momentum 42 Part III. Content and Structure 7. Finding and Telling Your Story 57 8. The Canonical Structure of the Scientific Paper 74 9. Front Matter and Abstract 79 10. The Introduction Section 84 11. The Methods Section 89 12. The Results Section 99 13. The Discussion Section 120 14. Back Matter 126 15. Citations 132 16. Deviations from the IMRaD Canon 138 Part IV. Style 17. Paragraphs 149 18. Sentences 159 19. Words 174 20. Brevity 182 Part V. Revision 21. Self-Revision 193 22. Friendly Review 204 23. Formal Review 211 24. Revision and the "Response to Reviews" 222 Part VI. Some Loose Threads 25. The Diversity of Writing Forms 233 26. Managing Coauthorships 247 27. Writing in English for Non-Native Speakers 260 Part VII. Final Thoughts 28. On Whimsy, Jokes, and Beauty: Can Scientific Writing Be Enjoyed? 273 Acknowledgements 287 References 289 Permanent URLs 299 Index 303