Scientific Writing

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Remember if you don't effectively communicate and document your experiment in writing and publication, you might as well have never done the experiment!

Writing References and Resources

  1. Dr. Rickus' favorite, definitive guide to writing grammar and style. The Elements of Style
  2. Purdue OWL grammar guide

Writing a Journal Paper

  1. A seasoned editor offers great practical advice on the paper writing process.
    1. Six Things to Do Before Writing your Manuscript
    2. 11 Steps to Structuring a Science Paper Editors will Take Seriously
    3. 8 Reasons I Accepted Your Article Blog
  2. Nature Scitable offers an education section on writing scientific papers Click here

A checklist process for writing your paper in the Rickus lab

1. Build your series of figures from your data. Think of this as your story board. Also, note that any journal is going to want high resolution images, so plan ahead.

2. Write legend titles that clearly express the conclusion and main point of each figure. Should be a conclusion, not a description. For example: "Surface Hydrophobicity Determines Strength of Cell Adhesion” = conclusion, what you learned. NOT … Contact Angle Measurement and Confocal Microscopy = description of what you did.

3. List 3-5 bullet points that summarize the highlights, main conclusions from the paper. This will frame the story.

4. Rickus EDIT Point. send drafts of this to Rickus and work on editing it together. Iterate on 1-3 if need be.

5. Decide on journal AND author list with Rickus. Also be a good time to share your figures, legends, journal choice and bullet point highlights with you complete author list to get feedback. READ journal instructions on figures. Edit figures based on journal instructions (e.g. size, resolution, number, colors etc)

6. Generate an outline of your Results Section. Give sections titles -again using conclusions as statement, not descriptors as much as you can. Decide which figures belong and support each section.

7. Write first draft. Use specific journal instructions. Start with methods/results/discussion/conclusions NOT introduction or abstract!

8. Rickus EDIT Point. Send draft to Rickus and iterate 5-7 if necessary.

9 Write abstract (only 1-2 sentence lead in, be specific, state objective, methods, list specific results (using numbers), state conclusions/impact.

10. write introduction to frame up the entire paper. think of writing it as if you were teaching someone. teach the fundamentals, not just a literature review. Use references to support what you are teaching. should lead up to a obvious conclusion that the experiments and work you did were the logical and critical next step to answer important questions.

11 . Be sure to use Endnote or Papers for your reference list. When done, ask yourself are there any critical papers or people that are important in your specific topic area that you have left out?

12. Send to Rickus to edit.

13. Send to entire author list to edit. You MUST have OK from ALL authors to submit. Discuss rights and responsibilities of authorship with Rickus if need be.

14. Once final submit.

15. Light a Candle, and pray, meditate, donate, pay it forward or whatever your particular religion or life philosophy calls for.