A point in space

When it comes to scientific papers, authors usually present data to support their hypothesis. What authors normally do is to show an abundance of data to make their hypothesis solid. The reasoning behind this behaviour is clear: if you can show independent experiments, possibly using different methods or experimental approaches all pointing at the same…

Odysseus’ scar

Erich Auerbach distinguished between two main narrative styles. The former was exemplified by the biblical account of Abraham’s calling, and the latter by Homer’s narration of Odisseus’ scar. The biblical author (whoever they may be, let us leave this aside) limited their description to few salient events. God calls Abraham and Abraham answers “I’m here”,…

Drawing figures in analog is a great way to plan your scientific manuscript

Scientists are accustomed to create figures for their research manuscripts. Figures are arguably the most potent way to describe data, transforming numbers, which can be opaque, into forms, whose size and shape most effectively communicate the findings of a given experiment. Often, groups of graphs or charts are put together to greate multi figure panels…

On freedom, academic journals and peer review publishing

It is legitimate to wonder whether the whole fuss about publishing research data on prestigious journals, or journals of any sort is justified. I have recently come across more than one commentator on internet calling for more freedom in data publishing. There is not a real need for indexed journals, scientific journals, it would be…

Your story is the best place to start from

So, you want to write a research report, where should you start from? The answer is, actually, anywhere you like. However, following some sort of order makes sense and can make writing easier. If you are writing a research article, you are likely to have data to report, so your article is going to consist…

On the art of making a long story short: writing a title

The title is the first piece of information of our manuscript that gets communicated. It is like a very brief summary of the content of the paper, the promise we are making to our readers, and, often, the only element that potential readers use to decide whether the rest of our work is of interest…

Et quasi cursores vitai lampada tradunt. On prosumers, honesty and messiahs.

I previously mentioned that investigators and scientific writers both create content and use content generated by peers. Investigators write papers. because this is how they disseminate the results of their work, get known and certify their skills for the benefit of their current or future career. At the same time, they consume scientific literature, they…

S.M.A.R.T. Goals, Smart writing

Managers know that project goals must be S.M.A.R.T. SMART is a frequently used acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (though other definitions exist). This means that when setting a goal for a project, this goal should be specific. It should not be generic, undefined, vague. This is a good suggestion for…

Foreword

Scientists know that there can be no science without publications. Originally a way to share data with the scientific community, to inform, to advance knowledge, publications have acquired such a great importance in research that it is safe to say that it is the single most important parameter by which scientists’ performance is measured. Titles,…