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Websites on Scientific Paper

I enjoyed the Bates college page entitled "The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper". It systematically goes through all parts of a paper.


I also enjoyed the 20 page guide written in January 2006 by Sarah Deel from Carleton College. I do not agree with some of her recommendations (such as writing the abstract in the past tense - I prefer to follow the guidelines of NASA on this one because the abstract needs to be attract the reader into the paper, and the present tense does that better than the past tense), yet I like her style of questions and answers.  The title of the guide is "Lab Report Guide: How to Write in the Format of a Scientific Paper".

The final document of interest is entitled "Scientific Writing Booklet". It is compiled by Dr Marc Tischler from the University of Arizona. It is a short 24 page booklet that, besides covering the various parts of a paper, explains the differences between active and passive voice and when to use which (see the evolution of writing style sites for more discussion on the use of the passive voice in scientific writing).


Do read the set of slides prepared by Simon Peyton Jones from Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England. It is entitled "How to write a great research paper". I do not quite agree with everything he says: his definition of the introduction is too narrow (See chapter 13 and 14 of the book "Scientific Writing: A reader and writer's guide" for more details), and I suspect that leaving all related work section for the end of the paper is too late even though there are two sections in the paper where related works are most welcome: the introduction and the discussion (and sometimes the methodology).

I appreciated the brevity and common sense recommendations of two web pages from the same site by Professor Railsback from the University of Georgia entitled "Some thoughts on writing a scientific paper or thesis" and "some comments on writing and editing (the latter is as important as the former)".


Finally, There are two documents scientists cannot ignore, because each and everyone is responsible for the reputation of Science (let alone our own reputation); The first one, a 76 page PDF document published in 2006 by the Council of Science Editors (CSE), is entitled "CSE's White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications. It has two main parts: 1) Roles and responsibilities in publishing, and 2) Identifying research misconduct and guidelines for action. You will find it here

The second document comes from my favourite website: http://www.the-scientist.com

They have an online daily, which I scan every day. All scientists, not just those in life science, will find something of value in it. For example, they recently had an article on a "glossary of retractions" March 2, 2007, listing out the various degrees of retraction, from the simple correction, to the expression of concern, the partial retraction, and the total retraction with or without permission. For each situation, an sample letter is given.