A concise and accessible primer on the scientific writer’s craft

The ability to write clearly is critical to any scientific career. The Scientist’s Guide to Writing provides practical advice to help scientists become more effective writers so that their ideas have the greatest possible impact.

Drawing on his own experience as a scientist, graduate adviser, and editor, Stephen Heard emphasizes that the goal of all scientific writing should be absolute clarity; that good writing takes deliberate practice; and that what many scientists need are not long lists of prescriptive rules but rather direct engagement with their behaviors and attitudes when they write. He combines advice on such topics as how to generate and maintain writing momentum with practical tips on structuring a scientific paper, revising a first draft, handling citations, responding to peer reviews, managing coauthorships, and more.

In an accessible, informal tone, The Scientist’s Guide to Writing explains essential techniques that students, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career scientists need to write more clearly, efficiently, and easily.

  • Emphasizes writing as a process, not just a product
  • Encourages habits that improve motivation and productivity
  • Explains the structure of the scientific paper and the function of each part
  • Provides detailed guidance on submission, review, revision, and publication
  • Addresses issues related to coauthorship, English as a second language, and more

Product Features

  • Princeton Univ Pr

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This article has 3 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Stephen Heard is to science writing as Edward Tufte is to science illustrations. The Scientists’ Guide to Writing is about the process of writing, and is not a nuts and bolts style reference. Stephen Heard takes the reader from author behaviors, such as procrastination versus bashing, finding your story and sticking with it, working with collaborators, dealing with the science article publishing process, and responding to reviews (including responding to idiotic reviews). Heard is a bit of heretic, with the gall to suggest that whimsy, jokes and occasional literary flourish…

  2. Anonymous

    Highly recommended writing guide for Grad Students.

  3. Anonymous

    Highly Recommended This book was insightful, helpful, and actually enjoyable to read. Heard lays bare scientific writing as a process, pointing out places where improvement can be had. He also dives in to the sections of scientific papers and has valuable advice on style. All the while, his witty footnotes and asides sprinkle enough humor to entertain without distracting from the overall themes (i.e., he practices what he preaches).As a published researcher, this book has already had an impact in the…

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