Archive by category | Writing

NSMB’s tips for revising your paper in response to reviewers

NSMB's tips for revising your paper in response to reviewers

From: Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 17, 389 (2010) Your paper went out to review, and after anxious waiting, you receive the letter asking for a revised paper. However, those ever-demanding editors and reviewers want more. One of the most important elements of a revision is the point-by-point response. Here are some tips for making it more effective. Keep to the point. We [the NSMB editors] internally call this a point-by-point rather than a rebuttal, implying that it makes a series of points in response to each point raised by the reviewers. We will, and indeed have, read through 17-page  … Read more

Editors’ advice on writing scientific papers

Editors' advice on writing scientific papers

Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (17, 139 ;2010) provides some writing advice for scientists: “less is more when it comes to writing a good scientific paper. Tell a story in clear, simple language and keep in mind the importance of the ‘big picture’.” Editors and reviewers regularly have to slog through papers that seem to go on forever and, more dishearteningly, have the main points and interesting bits inexplicably hidden, when they assess them for possible publication. NSMB provides some pointers, a few of which are provided here: Tell a story. We all love listening to a good story. And  … Read more

Science books to inspire new generations

Science books to inspire new generations

Five leading writers of science books are offering advice for budding authors in a series of interviews running from 4 Feb to 4 March in Nature‘s Books & Arts section. Researchers should be recognized for writing books to convey and develop science, according to an Editorial in Nature last week ( 463, 588; 4 February 2010, free to read online). Here is an extract: “As the era of the electronic book dawns, perhaps hastened by Apple’s much-touted iPad, researchers should prime themselves to take advantage of the spacious book format. Unlike a tweet, blog or research paper, a good book  … Read more

Essential reading for Copenhagen at Nature Reports Climate Change

At the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December, talk will turn to scientific, political and economic issues with a global reach and a long history — not easy to pick up from the daily news. Nature Reports Climate Change asked select experts on climate change what books we should be reading ahead of the big event. See Nature Reports Climate Change for the selections made my Mike Hulme, Tony Juniper, Mark Lynas, Oliver Morton, Ron Oxburgh, Rajendra K. Pachauri, Roger Pielke, Jr, Andrew Revkin and Joseph Romm, which range from popular scientific accounts to technical reports; and from explaining the controversies to passionate accounts of solutions. Some quotations from the recommendations:  … Read more

Holiday reading suggestions from Nature Methods

The Editorial in the July issue of Nature Methods is the journal’s popular annual round up of summer reading (Nat. Meth. 6, 471; 2009). According to the Editorial, for those who look hard enough there are a few good fiction books to be found with refreshingly realistic biologists as central characters in laboratory settings. A mix of the old and the new follows, including brief accounts of Cantor’s Dilemma by Carl Djerassi; Intuition by Allegra Goodman; Long for this World by Michael Byers; Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis; Experimental Heart by Jennifer Rohn; and Mendel’s Dwarf by Simon Mawer.  Read more

Frank Gannon says farewell to EMBO reports

Frank Gannon says goodbye as senior editor at EMBO reports in the journal’s April issue (10, 293; 2009). I shall certainly miss his monthly editorials, which I always looked forward to reading and often mentioned on this blog. On the occasion of his goodbye, he looks back at his contribution:  … Read more

Seminar on publishing excellence and citation data

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) and Thomson Reuters are holding a joint seminar on publishing excellence and how to correctly interpret journal citation data on 23 January 2009 in Sydney, Australia. This seminar will go into detail about the use and misuse of impact factors along with a presentation by senior editor Leslie Sage on how to get published in Nature.  Read more

Whimsical ways to communicate science

A clever use of fable brings surprising clarity to the story of climate change, thinks Euan Nisbet of Royal Holloway College, London, in his review for Nature Reports Climate Change (doi:10.1038/climate.2008.123) of Tyler Volk’s book CO2 Rising: The World’s Greatest Environmental Challenge. The author uses parables and puns to describe scientific concepts, creating a protagonist who is “a little carbon atom called Dave.” From the review:  … Read more

Citizendium calls for contributions to Biology week

Biology Week, an online “open house” for biologists, biology students and other interested people, begins today (22 September) on Citizendium, a ‘next-generation’ wiki encyclopedia started by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger. (See this Peer to Peer post for a brief comparison of online encyclopaedias.)  … Read more