Summer vacation can be a great time for academic writers to get ahead on their writing projects, but all too often professors and graduate students find themselves scrambling to get something—anything—finished as summer comes to a close, and wondering how the summer slipped away from them.
Journal author and editor offer advice for writing articles for scientific journals
Writing journal articles can be demanding for an academic writer in any field, but authors seeking to publish their work in scientific journals face unique challenges.
Elaine Hull, a prolific writer in the fields of psychology and neuroscience, and Ushma Neill, an editor for The Journal of Clinical Investigation, offer the following advice for science writers:
How to make your textbook more accessible to students with disabilities
During the 2008-2009 school year, 2,266,000 students with disabilities were enrolled in U.S. postsecondary educational institutions, comprising 10.8 percent of…
The most important writing tool
Hello. It’s me again, Ken. Dr. B. says that anyone who has polluted the journals as much as I have should have at least one more tip to offer, so here goes…..
Twenty acres, a tractor, and a toolbox, that’s all we had and all we needed. When the old John Deere broke down, we just grabbed the toolbox and put it right. Writing’s no different. Just keep a few tools…and know how to use them.
Turn bad editing into good writing
Whether soliciting advice from friends, family, or colleagues, on the receiving end of letters and track changes from journal editors, all authors have received bad editing. Bad editing is part of the writing game. Not everyone who is an editor is an excellent writer, in fact many are not. Although we’d like to think that our manuscripts are read by people with an interest or specialization in the material our articles or books cover, that’s not always the case. Readers can have bad days. Professors can be bogged down by exams; student editors may be more concerned with tests.
How to request and receive feedback on your writing
We shall take it as a given that a good academic work is focused. I have trouble imagining a dissertation writer who wouldn’t agree that their dissertation ought to be focused. But focus doesn’t get enough attention early in the process. Yes, early in the process we are seeking to refine a focus by exploring a range of possibilities. All of these are important reasons not to focus too intently, too early.
But this piece is about feedback and how to get and use feedback effectively; this is about submitting work to professors for feedback. You may have many ideas in your head and you may still be seeking focus, but, when it’s time, you want to submit something that is focused. You can have all the competing ideas that you want rattling around in your head, but what you put down on paper for submission needs to be focused.