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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

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  604 ratings  ·  64 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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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
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
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). ...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. ...more
James Mason
May 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This was _so_ good! Of course any book on writing has to pass the test that it is well written, and this one is. The message came through loud and clear and it was well structured both across the whole book and at the granular level.
I read a lot of books on leadership and the like and what is always a bit frustrating is that the target audience is usually business. It's the same for a lot of large audience books. It's hard to find books like this that specifically target my community: scie
Rachel Sawyer
Apr 09, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for school. It was useful in what it was trying to teach but hard to read at times. The author also comes off as if they are saying that their was it THE way to write scientific papers which seems a bit arrogant. I did learn more about writing scientific papers well so job well done.
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply great and helpful.
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic-writing
It’s been a year since I last read something on writing. This break went well: I regained the curiosity and forgot some bits. I got ready to perceive even some common pieces of advice without impatience and frustration, “I’ve already heard it elsewhere, now where’s the new stuff?”. And I fully appreciated the attempt made by Joshua Schimel to share his writing experience in a thorough and sincere way.

If I had to choose a single word to describe the essence of this book, it would be “story”. Find
Bob Lewis
Mar 05, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're an experienced writer, a lot of what Schimel says in this book is going to already be quite familiar to you. But the trouble is, a lot of scientists are not particularly well trained as writers, and so this guide might be quite useful to both practicing scientists and graduate (or even undergraduate) students interested in improving their writing.

The author's approach is to unpack the idea of good writing in a highly analytical way. Drawing both from examples of good science writing an
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fictions, english
Best book on writing for scientists. A must-read for anyone whose careeer is determined by the quality of their research papers and proposals. After reading this book, I found my papers looking like garbage. I realized that for all those years doing and writing science, I had not known how to write a paper.

Schimel argues that writing science is a form of story telling, that the article must convey a coherent story as clearly as possible. From that standpoint, Schimel advocates for the OCAR struc
Alyssa Lee
Let me start this review by making it clear that this book was helpful; it has improved my science writing and specifically helped my in my research internship (where I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Schimel speak on two occasions).

However, this book could have done with another revision. There were several typos, and Schimel often contradicted himself in his writing in a way that wasn't necessary. It could also be even shorter - most of this information he was able to condense into two presentati
Smitesh Bakrania
An essential read for any technical writer. You may not become a better writer overnight but you will at least avoid the common mistakes and organize your thoughts better on paper. Bottom line: follow the OCAR structure (Opening, Challenge, Action, Resolution) as you tell your story about the data to create understanding and knowledge. That structure is important and the story mindset helps drive your points. Your number one job is to make the reader's job easy. Avoid jargon, use verbs, and aim ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a scientist who writes about science and you haven’t read this book, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?

I urge mentors to make this a mandatory read for trainees.

The author has collected many otherwise scattered writing lessons (that you may or may not pick up along the course of your career) and presents them here all in one excellent resource.

It gives structure to problems you might have intuitively picked up on in the past, so that now you can concretely identify and fix them 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
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.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jun 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book that really made me start to see myself (and other scientists) as a writer. I read this chapter by chapter with a small group from work, which made me get more out of it through discussion. The only downside of the book for me was some slight repetition, and me forgetting all the acronyms constantly. But a very useful book I will return to again and again at different stages of writing articles.
Jul 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nice read, very practical guidelines for academic writing and communication. This book lies nicely somewhere in between general writing and academic word selection. The author provides various examples from real papers and proposals to make his points persuasive, and I'd say he's done a pretty good job. ...more
Harry Rubin
May 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a required book for my graduate writing class that I will continue to reference when I am writing my thesis. It provides really good tips and examples. My biggest hang-up was his use of acronyms. I don't think acronyms are a good way to communicate. Unless you are sticking to one throughout a 200 page book. ...more
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.
Szymon Szott
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.
Zad Rafi
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on how to structure papers from a story telling perspective with audiences in mind. Also has several other writing tips that the author has found to be useful from his time reading several style guides.
Kyle Shores
Jun 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic! I've always hated the editing process because it shows me just how poor of a writer I really am. This book gave me tools and words to describe things that needed to be named. I can identify what is bad and why and work on them now. Great read! ...more
Phillip Kyriakakis
Great book for science writing! If you are learning to write science, start here! It is well written (of course) and succinct. Also fun to read, not something you would expect from a learn to write book.
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.
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“First figure out what you don’t need to say; then, don’t say it.” 2 likes
“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
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