How to write and publish a scientific paper - Barbara Gastel, Robert A. Day 2022

How to write and publish a scientific paper - Barbara Gastel, Robert A. Day 2022


A word to international readers


Some preliminaries

What is scientific writing?

The scope of scientific writing

The need for clarity

Receiving the signals

Understanding the signals

Understanding the context

Organization and language in scientific writing

Historical perspectives

The early history

The electronic era

The Imrad story

Approaching a writing project

Establishing the mindset

Preparing to write

Doing the writing

Revising your work

What is a scientific paper?

Definition of a scientific paper

Organization of a scientific paper

Shape of a scientific paper

Other definitions

Ethics in scientific publishing

Ethics as a foundation

Authenticity and accuracy



Ethical treatment of humans and animals

Disclosure of conflicts of interest

Where to submit your manuscript

Decide early, decide well

Prestige and impact


Avoiding predatory journals

Other factors to consider

Using instructions to authors

Preparing the text

How to prepare the title

Importance of the title

Length of the title

Need for specific titles

Importance of syntax

The title as label

Abbreviations and jargon

More about title format

How to list the authors and addresses

Definition of authorship

The order of the names

Defining the order: an example

Specifying contributions

Proper and consistent form

Solutions: orcid and more

Listing affiliations and addresses

How to prepare the abstract


Types of abstracts

Clarity and conciseness

Akin to abstracts


Visual varieties

How to write the introduction


Reasons for the guidelines


Citations and abbreviations

How to write the materials and methods section

Purpose of the section




Measurements and analysis

Need for references

Tables and figures

Correct form and grammar

How to write the results

Content of the results

How to handle numbers

Strive for clarity

Avoid redundancy

A supplement on supplementary material online

How to write the discussion

Discussion and verbiage

Components of the discussion

Noting strengths and limitations

Significance of the paper


Defining scientific truth

How to state the acknowledgments

Ingredients of the acknowledgments

Being courteous

How to cite the references

Rules to follow

Checking against the original

Electronic aids to citation

Citations in the text

Reference styles

Titles and inclusive pages

Journal abbreviations

Some trends in reference format

Examples of different reference styles

Citing electronic material

One more reason to cite carefully

Preparing the tables and figures

How to design effective tables

When to use tables

How to arrange tabular material

Exponents in table headings

Following the journal’s instructions

Titles, footnotes, and abbreviations

Additional tips on tables

How to prepare effective graphs

When not to use graphs

When to use graphs

How to prepare graphs

Symbols and legends

A few more tips on graphs

Beyond graphs

Sources offering further assistance

How to prepare effective photographs

Photographs and micrographs

Submission formats

Cropping and combining

Necessary keys and guides


Publishing the paper

Rights and permissions

What is copyright?

Copyright of unpublished materials

Creative commons licenses

Obtaining permissions

How to submit the manuscript

Checking your manuscript

Submitting your manuscript

The cover letter

Sample cover letter

Electronic cover letters

Confirmation of receipt

The review process (How to deal with editors)

Functions of editors, managing editors, and manuscript editors

The review process

The editor’s decision

The accept letter

The modify letter—and how to respond to it

The reject letter

Editors as gatekeepers

The publishing process (How to deal with proofs)—and after publication

The copyediting and proofing processes

Why proofs are sent to authors

Misspelled words

Marking the corrections

Additions to the proofs

Addition of references

Proofing the illustrations

When to complain


Publicizing and archiving your paper

Celebrating publication

Doing other writing for publication

How to write a review paper

Characteristics of a review paper

Preparing an outline

Types of reviews

Writing for the audience

Importance of introductory paragraphs

Importance of conclusions

Additional tips for writing review articles

How to write opinion (Letters to the editor, editorials, book reviews, and essays)

Writing informed opinion

Letters to the editor


Book (and other media) reviews


How to write a book chapter or a book

How to write a book chapter

Why (or why not) to write a book

How to find a publisher

How to prepare a book manuscript

How to participate in the publication process

How to help market your book

How to write for the public

Why write for general readerships?

Finding publication venues

Engaging the audience

Conveying content clearly

Emulating the best

Conference communications

How to present a paper orally

How to get to present a paper

A word of caution

Organization of the paper

Presentation of the paper


Presenting online

Making a mini-presentation

The audience

A few answers on questions

How to prepare a poster

Popularity of posters


Preparing the poster

Presenting the poster

How to write a conference report



Presenting new ideas

Editing and publishing

Scientific style

Use and misuse of english

Some basics

Some finer points

On a lighter note

Avoiding jargon

Definition of jargon

Mumblespeak and other sins


Special cases

Mottoes to live by

How and when to use abbreviations

General principles

Good practice

Units of measurement

Special problems

SI (système international) units

Other abbreviations

Writing clearly across cultures and media

Readable writing

Consistency in wording

Serving international readers

A few words on email style

Writing for online reading

How to write science in english as a foreign language

English as the international language of science

The essentials: content, organization, and clarity

Cultural differences to consider

Some common language challenges

More strategies for english-language writing

More resources

Other topics in scientific communication

How to write a thesis

Purpose of the thesis

Tips on writing

When to write the thesis

Relationship to the outside world

From thesis to publication

How to prepare a curriculum vitae, cover letter, and personal statement

What’s a curriculum vitae? What’s it good for?

What to put in (and what to leave out)

Other suggestions

Preparing a cover letter

Writing a personal statement

How to prepare grant proposals and progress reports

Preparing a grant proposal

Writing a progress report

How to write a recommendation letter—and how to ask for one

Deciding whether to write the letter

Gathering the information

Writing letters

A light aside

If you’re seeking recommendation letters

How to work with the media

Before the interview

During the interview

After the interview

How to provide peer review

Responding to a request for peer review

Peer-reviewing a scientific paper

Providing informal peer review

For more on reviewing

How to edit your own work

Preparing to edit your work

Items to notice: 8 Cs

A good choice: checklists

Finding and working with an author’s editor

How to seek a scientific-communication career

Career options in scientific communication

An admittedly unvalidated quiz

Career preparation

Entering the field and keeping up

Selected journal title word abbreviations

Words and expressions to avoid

SI (Système international) prefixes and their abbreviations

Some helpful websites