In November 2022, we held another webinar entitled: “Scientific Writing – An Unexpected Journey”. The webinar was hosted by co-founder of eCORRECTOR, prof Associate Mark J. Hunt, PhD, and our speaker Dr. Keith όProinsias, who obtained his PhD in Chemistry from the Institute of Technology Tallaght in Dublin, Ireland. Keith has been providing editing and proofreading services at eCORRECTOR for over 4 years. He also worked with proofreading companies in Japan and India. He shared his story of his unexpected journey to become a proofreader, and how to write better papers in English. He also gave us useful tips on how to make writing easier.
Many PhD candidates who participated were issued certificates of attendance which they could attach to their end of year report of their progress.
eCORRECTOR as a proofreading end editing company helps authors with the submission of their papers by offering proofreading/editing services or even just by giving some tips and pointers. Our recent webinar highlighted some of the key points when starting to write your paper which we have summarized below.
- Before you put pen to paper make a plan
- Making a plan is an essential ingredient for success no matter how short (Abstract) or long (Thesis) the text.
- Be flexible. A plan is a starting point, it can always change.
- By breaking down each section and constructing a plan of attack for your work, writing is easier and much more productive. One of the main issues when writing is starting.
- Different writing styles
- Article – For example, article and communication writing vs. a review.
- Abstract – Needs to be precise, clear, and very appealing. Especially for talks and posters, your writing can be more colourful.
- Grant proposal – It has to be very subjective to highlight your work. The writing style must sell every aspect of your work. It can be very repetitive.
- Thesis – Much more freedom. More detailed and expansive compared to article writing. It is a deep dive into your work.
- Know your worth
- One of the major mistakes when writing is not knowing the worth of your work. A major issue is when the author’s ego overshadows the work.
- In addition to that, knowing how your work fits into your area of research, makes you focus on the right areas when writing, and highlight the parts that will contribute to your area.
- Multiple rejected papers can turn into a higher-impact submission.
- The journal
- Obviously, by selecting the most appropriate journal, the more likely your paper will be accepted.
- Each journal has specific guidelines, so it is important to familiarise yourself.
- The focus of the paper depends on the journal, so try to choose the one that is the closest to your area of research.
- The audience
- If you don’t know your audience you can easily lose, confuse, and discourage the reader
- Writing overly scientific and complex text can limit your audience. Aim to keep it clear and simple. If you are a chemist at a biology-based conference, you should not lean heavily on the chemical side or else you will limit your audience
- Know your limits
- A major misconception of scientific writing is that it must sound as complex as possible
- The best writing is clear, precise, and flows well.
- If your English skills are not good, keep it simple.
! The thesaurus is not your friend!
!! Google translate is not a proper scientific translation service!!
- Write a paper not a diary
- When presenting your results, each piece of data must be selected to fit the story
- Trying to cram as many results as possible into the given paper with an “I DID IT SO IT’S GOING IN” attitude is not good.
- Trying to explain unworkable results will make writing much harder and reduce the quality of the final text
- Writing can expose both your weaknesses and strengths so honesty is important.
- Tell the true story of your work – describe both the successes and failures of the presented work that will provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding.
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 professional help?