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Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded
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Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  38 reviews
As a scientist, you are a professional writer: your career is built on successful proposals and papers. Success isnt defined by getting papers into print, but by getting them into the readers consciousness. Writing Science is built upon the idea that successful science writing tells a story. It uses that insight to discuss how to write more effectively. Integrating lessons ...more
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Oxford University Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  338 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a pattern I’ve realized through reading advice books. The best book on presentation I’ve ever read isn’t about presentation skills. Similarly, the best book on design isn’t about design skills. Now, this is the best book I’ve read on writing, and it isn’t about writing skills either. To be precise, this book does contain a lot of advices on how to write, but these advices secondarily come from a foundation which is much deeper and far greater: the author’s philosophy about writing. The b ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As a scientist, you are a professional writer. Applying the tools of the writer will improve both your writing and your science.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall a great book and also in line mostly with my advisor's thinking on the matter. I learned a lot and clarified a lot in my thinking. I'll focus here on some concerns, but overall just make sure to read this book if you need to write science.

Some of the acronyms were hard to keep 100% in mind throughout the book. Also, sometimes my lack of familiarity with particular fields did get in the way. But not too much.

Leaving out the issue of the dynamics of the abstract is a bit odd, I think, sinc
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a fiction book you read before you go to bed. It is one of the "boring" science related books; probably more aimed towards people who just started their career in science as PhD students. However, this book impressed me by its clear messages and very engaging writing style. If you are scientist you don't hear everyday or even at all that science writing is "STORY TELLING". This main message clearly stuck in my head. Author does not just plainly said so, he eloquently "told" his "stor ...more
Amanda Nelson
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated this book much more than I thought I would. It not only made me feel better about my more common writing mistakes by noting that I am not alone, it gave me methods to fix them. I knew I had issues with "the big picture" and "telling the story." I had been told as much by past advisors, but it wasn't until this book that I understood what that really meant or how to deal with it. I have already recommended this book to both my advisors and several fellow students, which is probably ...more
Andrew Childers
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suggest this book to anyone who writes in the sciences. The principles of writing in this book could apply more widely, but the content is geared to science writing. Though Schimel has clear and interesting style, I found it a bit of a chore to read through to the end. There's just a lot to consider when writing. It's totally worth the work though; this is the kind of advice that develops an average paper into an inspiring paper (assuming you've got good science in the first place).
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply great and helpful.
Sisi Di
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: better-writing
Every time when I submit my papers, reviewers suggest me to have a native check my paper. But it's not easy to find a professional native who is both good at English writing and familiar with my topic. The comments just make me confused and anxious since none of them can tell me how to correct a paper by myself. This book saves my papers. I learned that the structure is the soul of a paper rather the language. The OCAR structure clarifies my data, information, knowledge, and understanding. It al ...more
Schimel has some great tips for the scientific writer, but sometimes seems to contradict himself. He also seems to have very concrete ideas for how a paper should be written, and disapproves of all other styles. If we all wrote like Schimel, papers would be 3 pages long and have nothing but short, powerful sentences. I found a lot of good ideas that I will definitely incorporate in my own writing, but there were also things I think I shall leave to Schimel for his own. Worth a read, but I wouldn ...more
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of the best I've ever read. It offers awesome writing tools presented in a remarkably clear and engaging way. It covers all aspects of writing, from designing story structure to the usage of specific words, and everything in between. I recommend it even to non-scientists. Although some of its chapters focus specifically on writing in science, most of the book is about writing (and communicating) in general.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pretty much essential reading for any research active academic. I learnt a lot through reading this book, but there is so much to take it you have to read, impliment, re-read and repeat. The focus is VERY natural sciences heavy which makes it hard to fully impliment if you are not in those fields. I am a design academic, so the advice is good, but it can be a hard read at times. Also, completely overpriced on Amazon!
Gede Suprayoga
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book and found it was inspiring. The author provides with approaches to follow in writing journal articles for scientists and publications for general audiences. The explanation is sufficiently clear. The author is not only presenting how to write as scientists, but also motivating us to publish in a way to do good science. I recommend this book to whoever needing a step-by-step approach in accomplish their PhD dissertation and in writing their proposal.
Devon Bowser
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My PhD adviser gives this book to all his graduate students as a guide for how to approach scientific writing. It is written as a resource manual/textbook but was actually enjoyable to read. I did take notes as I read because of that #gradschoollife mentality. The takeaways from the book are presented in a straight forward manner that makes it easy to start incorporating the advice directly into your writing, revisions, and editing.
Olumuyiwa Ibidunmoye
Excellent book for doctoral students or anyone doing research for that matter. The good thing about the book is that it is very hands-on (with exercises) and can as well be used by early-career or seasoned researchers alike. Best enjoyed in a group read.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Required reading

Excellent resource for scientists with many insights to be gained! It's slightly biased towards life science. Still, having reached the end, I'm starting rereading it immediately.
Joe IV
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
I have learned a great deal from this book. The acronyms that were most meaningful were SUCCES, OCAR, and SCFL (read them and find out their meaning :P). I will definitely go back to this book more and more as a reference on writing.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-health
I found this book to be a fabulous resource to reflect on writing style. It was very helpful to identify specific elements of my writing to improve.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Very useful especially for early-stage scientists, but also seasoned ones would benefit from reading. I only regret that I did not read this book at the beginning of my Ph.D.
Chiu Pang
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent guide for writing, not only for science.
Jennifer Shaiman
My rating for this book would be higher if I was looking for something to assign for a graduate class, but I'm looking for a book to use in an upper-division class on writing in the sciences instead.

Parts of this book would be hard to use in the classroom--even in a class where students are doing their own authentic research, asking them to produce an earth-shattering topic for a proposal is hard. And, it is my understanding, that this often isn't the case for practicing scientists either. Yes,
Franck Chauvel
This is about how to write papers, so that they read better, and engage whoever scores it. Advices ranges from how to structure your article, down to how to structure your sentences and what words and grammatical constructs to prefer and avoid.

I regret that all examples are from explanatory Science (Biology, Physics, etc.) which aim at understanding Nature. Relating research to societal challenges seems more challenging in Mathematics for instance, where theories are not directly applicable. No
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book is directed at those who write in the scientific disciplines, there are insights that any writer would find valuable: judicious use of passive voice, where to stress (though not in the same way as poetry), and how to write a convincing thesis. An excellent examination of the "nuts and bolts" of good writing.
The source of the "Message Box", an integral part of Prof. Tom Baldwin's presentation "Communication training for graduate students and postdocts", as part of "From the lab to the kitchen table – communicating science to a lay audience", sponsored by the ASBMB Public Outreach Committee at Experimental Biology 2013.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A seriously good book on writing non-fiction and science. Focus on all levels from macro to micro. A lot of good practical tools to use in your own writing. It was a bit too much on core sciences (I am a computer scientist) but still very useful if you write a lot of research papers.
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Focuses on the big picture and how to tell a story with your scientific writing. Convincingly makes the case that citable papers and fundable proposals tell a good story. Lots of examples of bad and good writing and how to turn bad into good.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Some parts are hard to chunk through. Yes, Schimel is a very good writer and science storyteller but sometimes too much detail. This book is set to be used in a course. For that, I would recommend any professor to use it as a guide.
Rodolfo Souza
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books about writing that I've read. This book brings a lot of tools to help us to do good writing and as well as to find important elements when we're reading a paper.
Kangning Huang
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author introduces story-telling into science writing.
This book will make your writing slower, more painful, but much better at the end.
Kelsey King
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing

This book provides an excellent set of ideas that can improve any scientist's writing. I recommend it for any level of writer.
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“Also remember, you are a scientist—it is not your job to be right. It is your job to be thoughtful, careful, and analytical; it is your job to challenge your ideas and to try to falsify your hypotheses; it is your job to be open and honest about the uncertainties in your data and conclusions. But if you are doing cutting-edge work, you are not always going to be right.” 1 likes
“We don’t have to become science popularizers like Stephen Jay Gould or Carl Sagan, we just have to become better storytellers. Doing so will make us more effective with each other, with our professional translators (science journalists like Kolbert), with policy makers, and with the public.” 0 likes
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