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Professional Psychology: Debating Chamber · Psychology Journals · Psychologists

Scientific writing is an aspect of professional communication and is the writing about science.

History[edit | edit source]

Scientific writing in English started in the 14th century.[1]

The Royal Society established good practice for scientific writing. Founder member Thomas Sprat wrote on the importance of plain and accurate description rather than rhetorical flourishes in his History of the Royal Society of London. Robert Boyle emphasized the importance of not boring the reader with a dull, flat style.[2]

Because most scientific journals accept manuscripts only in English, an entire industry has developed to help non-native English speaking authors improve their text before submission. It is just now becoming an accepted practice to utilize the benefits of these services. This is making it easier for scientists to focus on their research and still get published in top journals.[citation needed]

Writing style guides[edit | edit source]

Different fields have different conventions for writing style, and individual journals within a field usually have their own style guides.

Some style guides for scientific writing recommend against use of the passive voice,[3] while some encourage it.[4][5] Some journals prefer using "we" rather than "I" as personal pronoun.[citation needed] Note that "we" sometimes includes the reader, for example in mathematical deductions. Publication of research results is the global measure used by all disciplines to gauge a scientist’s level of success.[citation needed]

In the mathematical sciences, it is customary to report in the present tense.[6]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Irma Taavitsainen, Päivi Pahta, Medical and scientific writing in late medieval English, 
  2. Joseph E. Harmon, Alan G. Gross, "On Early English Scientific Writing", The scientific literature, 
  3. Nature Publishing Group (2010). Writing for a Nature journal How to write a paper. Authors & referees. URL accessed on 2010-08-05.
  4. International Studies Review. Journal house style points. URL accessed on 2010-08-05.
  5. Duke Scientific Writing Resource.
  6. Nicholas J. Higham, 1998. Handbook of writing for the mathematical sciences. Philadelphia: Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. p. 56

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