Are You Working on Improving Your Scientific Writing?

in StemSociallast year (edited)

For the outsider, the main task of researchers in academia is the mere activity of doing research to get a better understanding of the world we live in. As most of you know, the act of doing research actually comprises a large number of diverse tasks, most of which involve writing.

In fact, as argued by Joshua Schimel's book Writing Science, researchers can be considered professional writers. Being successful in your research doesn't stop with simply discovering new things. Sharing these findings in publications with your research community is as important. Although opinions differ, at the end of the day the academic system, as it is now, rewards the scientists that publish.


Good writing skills, however, can bring more to the table than simply getting more published articles and citations. The act of writing is also a process in which you organize your thoughts. By writing, you define concepts and strategies.

A first draft might be unclear and lack the red thread. A second draft might be more organized but made you realize that you miss a key concept in your reasoning. The final draft checks all the boxes and is precisely what you had in mind.

At least, that's how it would ideally go. Writing is a very personal process. Each individual takes a slightly different approach to writing. However, what researchers across the board all have in common, is the fact that scientific writing is a very important skill to master.

This is exactly why Schimel wrote his book. As a scientist himself, he went through the process of improving his writing skills. The book is a mere attempt of sharing the lessons learned along the way.

Personally, I am not the best writer, scientifically, nor here on Hive. But I'm trying, I'm reading books on the topic, checking out articles that are well written, and of course, I'm writing.

If you are a scientist, and willing to put the effort into it, I can really recommend this book.

Do you have good resources for further improving my writing, please drop them in the comments :-)

Happy writing folks!


I’m not a scientist but to improve my English writing language would be nice and very helpful for my Hive posts.

Yeah, I also like to see my posts on Hive as part of the learning process :-)

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Funnily enough, when I build a given research project, I have the skeleton of the upcoming scientific publication already in mind. It is then up to months of hard work to fill the text, not necessarily because of the text itself, but mostly because of the results that need to be produced (and this takes time). I like to think that with such a scheme, it helps to construct a useful project for the field of research.

I also apply more or less the same strategy. Although the research part is an ongoing process, it's not completely separable perhaps. But the author of the book also suggests taking the approach you are describing. That's nice to see I guess :-)

One thing that I didn't mention in the first comment is that the initial skeleton of the paper drafted in my mind may evolve according to the findings of the on-going research. This is indeed a dynamical process, as you correctly pointed out.

I am interested in learning that how I handle my work is mentioned in the book. Cool!


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Plus a dwonvote ;-)

I don’t have enough reputation for this one 🤷‍♀️