Field of Science

Writing Science: The. Article.

Yes, the is an article, but "the article" is considered by many to be the best, the most important, the only way to communicate about science (at least to other scientists). Yes? No?

Who should be writing about science? What kinds of writing about science constitute scientific communication? Who should be writing them?

Writing prompt
"All I want is a proper cup of coffee, made in a proper copper coffee pot." —Trout Fishing in America

Describe how your perfect cup of coffee is made. Start where you wish - with the beans, or with pouring it from a pot, or buying it at a cafe. Be specific and detailed. Don't drink coffee? (I don't!) Do the same with tea or hot chocolate or a favorite sandwich. Five minutes.

Pick a routine prep you do in lab. Describe the perfect process. Be specific and detailed. Five minutes.

Next up
The anatomy of a scientific paper: what does one of those all important journal articles look like?

What we're reading
  • Anatomy of a Scientific Paper, Excerpted from Anatomy of a Scientific Paper
  • Abstract, Communicating Science: A practical guide, Pierre Laszlo, Springer, 2010.
  • How to write a scientific paper (book review), R.W. Guillery, J. Anat. (2008) 213, 629–630.
  • Whitesides' Group: writing a paper, George Whitesides, Adv. Mater. 2004, 16, 1375-1377.
  • Writing Summaries and Abstracts, Margot Northey & Judi Jewinski, Making Sense: A student's guide to research and writing, Oxford 2009. pp 31-38
  • Writing a scientific paper, From Research to Manuscript: a guide to scientific writing, Michael Jay Katz, Springer, 2006. pp 53-124
  • Instructions for authors, Journal of the American Chemical Society
ADDENDUM: A chemist muses about coffee here....


  1. You can see a quote of my published review of this book:

    Writing a scientific paper, From Research to Manuscript: a guide to scientific writing, Michael Jay Katz, Springer, 2006. pp 53-124

    Go to the web page for it.:

    "Compulsory reading for post-docs wanting to achieve success in the scientific field." (Ronan Bree, National University of Ireland, Galway)

    "A great addition to the personal libraries of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows bent on careers in science. Many seasoned scientists could also be advised to read the book to improve their skills in writing." (Donald K. Ingram, Editor-in-Chief of AGE)

    "Overall, Katz provides a pleasant overview of the research-science report process for both first-time science research authors and seasoned professionals." (Julie Kinyoun, Technical Communication, Vol. 54 (2), 2007)

    "... another excellent book to treasure." (Dr. Achuthsankar S. Nair, University of Kerala)

  2. Cool! So did I choose wisely, Julie? Or are there other/better books you'd recommend?

  3. I really liked The Art of Scientific Writing by Ebel, Bliefert and Russey. (I hope I got the author names right). I'm not familiar with the other books on your list.

    It seems like it might be best to read as many as possible and compare and contrast them. I'm not sure one book really has the magic.
    I saw you referenced the Field Guide. Good for you! That's a journalism book.

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