Highlights from October webinar

Last month, on the 26th of October, we had our another webinar entitled: “Top Tips and Common Mistakes in Scientific Writing”. It was a huge success and we were really happy to see such a turnaround – over 100 people subscribed. It was moderated by co-founder and chief editor of eCORRECTOR, dr. hab. Mark J. Hunt, PhD, and our main guest, who conducted the entire lecture, was dr. Jerry Carr-Brion, MRSC, CChem who obtained his PhD in Chemistry from Queen Mary’s, University of London, UK, and is the author of recently published book Process Development: An Introduction for Chemists.

The main purpose of the webinar was to introduce to the attendees the best tips and common mistakes in writing scientific papers – especially in the field of chemistry/biochemistry.

Many PhD candidates who participated were issued a certificate of attendance, which they could attach to their end of year report of their progress.

eCORRECTOR as a proofreading end editing company always try to help authors with the submission of their papers by offering proofreading/editing services or even just by giving some tips and pointers, that is why we want to share with you some highlights from our recent event:

  1. Before you write your paper
  • Check you’ve done all the experiments you need to. Controls are important.
  • Stick to a clear story. Leave out irrelevant experiments.
  • Read the ‘Instructions for authors’ for the journal to which you plan to submit your paper.
  • Decide whether you want to write in UK English or US English; stick to this throughout the paper
  1. Advice on Style
  • Avoid very long sentences with lots of different clauses, since they often lead to confusion. They may be perfectly clear in your native language, but ambiguous in English.
  • Avoid sentences with too many adjectives, which can often be found in introductions and conclusions.
  1. Time after time…
  • In general, keep the text in the past tense (with some exceptions).
  • In the method and results sections, nearly everything you report should be in the past tense: ‘The yeast was added to the buffer solution.’ The exception is when you refer to figures or tables: ‘Figure 1 shows…’ !!!
  • When discussing the work of others (typically in the introduction and discussion sections), well-established facts can be written in the present tense, such as ‘Sodium metal reacts violently with water.’
  • Where there is disagreement, or if you are reporting the results of a single research group, use the past tense. ‘Bloggs et al. claimed to have achieved high enantioselectivity using magnetic fields.’
  1. Some of the most common mistakes to avoid
  • Leaving out ‘a’ or ‘the’ or putting them when not needed. However, there are some cases, typically when discussing a class of objects in general or abstract concepts, where no article or equivalent is needed.
  • Putting adjectives after a noun, not before, such as ‘The precipitate above-mentioned was centrifuged’, when it should be ‘The above-mentioned precipitate was centrifuged.’
  • Misplaced apostrophes, such as ‘Alzheimers’ disease’ (should be ‘Alzheimer’s disease’) or ‘Both precipitate’s were…’ (this should be ‘Both precipitates were…’).

!!!Note that in statistics, it should be ‘Student’s t-test’ with a capital letter and an apostrophe, since ‘Student’ was a pseudonym.

  • Using decimal commas instead of decimal points. An instruction such as ‘Carefully add 1,333 g of concentrated nitric acid’ would lead to an English-speaking chemist adding 1.333 Kg, probably giving a rather vigorous reaction.
  • Misuse of ’during’. ‘The mixture was heated during 5 hours’ should be ‘The mixture was heated for 5 hours.’ ‘During’ normally refers to something that happened within a particular period of time, for example ‘The mixture was heated for 5 hours; during this time a yellow solid precipitated.’

You can watch webinar here

As you can see just from those few highlights, working on a scientific paper is not an easy task, so why not make it less stressful and ask for a professional help?  😉

You can find out more about our proofreading and editing service here. As for the PhDs who work on your papers, you may find more information about them by visiting this site.

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