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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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Academic & Professional Books  Reference  Editing & Writing

The Scientist's Guide to Writing How to Write More Easily and Effectively Throughout Your Scientific Career

Handbook / Manual
By: Stephen B Heard(Author)
349 pages, 17 b/w illustrations
The Scientist's Guide to Writing
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  • The Scientist's Guide to Writing ISBN: 9780691219189 Edition: 2 Paperback May 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
  • The Scientist's Guide to Writing ISBN: 9780691219202 Edition: 2 Hardback May 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
Selected version: £22.00
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

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.


Preface vii

Part I. What Writing Is
1. On Bacon, Hobbes, and Newton, and the Selfishness of Writing Well 3
2. Genius, Craft, and What This Book Is About 11

Part II. Behavior
3. Reading 17
4. Managing Your Writing Behavior 22
5. Getting Started 30
6. Momentum 42

Part III. Content and Structure
7. Finding and Telling Your Story 57
8. The Canonical Structure of the Scientific Paper 74
9. Front Matter and Abstract 79
10. The Introduction Section 84
11. The Methods Section 89
12. The Results Section 99
13. The Discussion Section 120
14. Back Matter 126
15. Citations 132
16. Deviations from the IMRaD Canon 138

Part IV. Style
17. Paragraphs 149
18. Sentences 159
19. Words 174
20. Brevity 182

Part V. Revision
21. Self-Revision 193
22. Friendly Review 204
23. Formal Review 211
24. Revision and the "Response to Reviews" 222

Part VI. Some Loose Threads
25. The Diversity of Writing Forms 233
26. Managing Coauthorships 247
27. Writing in English for Non-Native Speakers 260

Part VII. Final Thoughts
28. On Whimsy, Jokes, and Beauty: Can Scientific Writing Be Enjoyed? 273

Acknowledgements 287
References 289
Permanent URLs 299
Index 303

Customer Reviews


Stephen B. Heard is professor of biology at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. He is the author of Charles Darwin’s Barnacle and David Bowie’s Spider: How Scientific Names Celebrate Adventurers, Heroes, and Even a Few Scoundrels.

Handbook / Manual
By: Stephen B Heard(Author)
349 pages, 17 b/w illustrations
Media reviews

Reviews of the first edition:

"Heard provides a well-written, useful guide across the various scientific specialties, emphasizing the need to create a paper that clearly reflects the goal of the writer and also has literary merit."

"In an accessible, informal tone, this book explains essential techniques that students, postdoctoral researches, and early career scientists need to write more clearly, efficiently, and easily."
Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

"A tremendous resource for new science writers. Heard writes so that you want to keep reading, which of course is the skill he's teaching in this book. The Scientist's Guide to Writing is carefully considered, engaging, and full of useful ideas."
– Mikaela Huntzinger, coauthor of How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook

"Delightfully informative. Heard covers nearly every circumstance in which a scientist may need to write – from preparing a scientific paper for publication, to preparing a grant application, to responding to reviewers. This book is a gold mine of useful guidelines and good advice."
– Mark P. Silverman, author of A Certain Uncertainty: Nature's Random Ways

"Writing skills are vital for scientists, contrary to persistent myths among some undergraduates. Stephen Heard has produced a helpful, tightly written guide that will help many in their quest to communicate their research elegantly."
– Jeremy T. Kerr, University of Ottawa

"A delight to read and highly informative."
– Stephen K. Donovan, Journal of Scholarly Publishing

"This book does a great job of providing readers with the tools needed to make writing easier and more effective by focusing on the process and developing the habit of writing. As a consequence, this is a great guide for graduate students, and will also be helpful to scientists who are looking for ways to improve their writing and to get more of it done."
– Dianna K. Padilla, Quarterly Review of Biology

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