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an interesting paper with paper writing advise

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3 replies to this topic

#1 hobglobin


    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional...

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:44 AM

a paper from Oikos, worth reading:
click me
(actually I'm not sure about the webpage's legal compliance...so if you want a pdf better download it from the journal's website as it seems to be free Posted Image

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that did belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#2 Curtis


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Posted 16 October 2012 - 06:57 PM

the first link is blocked from our uni

#3 Trof


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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:20 PM

There are some points I would agree upon, but those are general guidelines for good paper I would say, but the overal "science must be fun" is not kind of what I would sign.
Science IS fun, for the researcher. It's not fun usually for the students, for general public, your grandmother etc. So if you want to communicate science to them, It's OK to use nice pictures, humour fun, personal writing style etc.
BUT as I read a new scientific paper I want a well descibed data and methods, good hypothesis and relevant discussion,clear writing style and the whole message of paper. I certainly don't need personal writing style or humour. On the other hand I can very well imagine scientific papers that would have much humour and personal writing style in them and be completely useless. So no, I'd rather read a "boring" paper with clear conclusion and precisely described procedures and than make a jokes about the topic myself.

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#4 Astilius



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Posted 17 October 2012 - 04:59 AM

I largely agree with all of his points. He's not advocating a conversational style in which flowery language abfuscates the message. He's advocating clarity and readability. There are far, far too many papers out there where you read them and initially think, "what on earth are they on about?", and have to re-read at least once more.
Point 1 on focus is spot on. There are many reasons for this but it would aid matters if people stated where they were coming from and what they attempted to achieve, not just what work they did and the conclusions they drew.

As I say, I agree with this paper. He's not advocating that papers are necessarily lighthearted, conversational pieces that are riven with jokes. It's all about clarity. A clearly set out paper that describes its purpose, the work that was done, the conclusions drawn and, where suitable speculation on future work/ideas, does it's job far better than the standard borefest that is unclear on any of that. The point, after all of papers isn't really career advancement within a field but to convey scientific work and ideas and as such clarity should be king.
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