Presentation on theme: "Before You Write APS Professional Skills Course: Writing and Reviewing for Scientific Journals."— Presentation transcript:
Before You Write APS Professional Skills Course: Writing and Reviewing for Scientific Journals
Benefits of Writing As important as doing the research –Share your results with the greater scientific community –Opportunity to think more clearly about the research Writing is a skill and improves with practice Critical for your success
Importance of Publications Critical to promotion –Final product of the research project –Help colleagues learn about your work AND you –Yardstick of productivity –Quality is as important as quantity Critical to funding –Grant applications –Grant progress reports –Grant renewal applications
Competing to Publish Competition among scientists to be published in journals is intense Cost of publication is high Rejection rates vary among journals
What Makes a Good Paper? Tells a good story Sound and testable hypothesis Good experimental design Understandable results Advances understanding of science Suggests areas for future investigation
A Clear Hypothesis Does it make a specific prediction? –What does it mean if you prove it? –What does it mean if you disprove it? Is it testable? Does it have a clear rationale? –Does it fit with what is already known? –Does it expand or change the existing paradigm? Does it explain what happens in a simple way?
Good Hypotheses? #1: We hypothesized that changing the time the mice are exposed to a drug will change their breathing rate. #2: We hypothesized that the Na + uptake into the cells resulted from a novel but unknown substance.
Better Hypotheses! We hypothesize that the enhancement of CCK- induced satiation by gastric distention involves 5-HT3 receptor activation. We hypothesized that 8 wk of stretch-shortening cycle exercise training would increase fiber cross-sectional area, peak Ca 2+ -activated force, maximal shortening velocities, and power in slow and fast muscle fibers.
Writing in Stages Discuss with your collaborators –Research Tasks –Writing Tasks –Authorship Write an outline for the paper Do a thorough literature search, including older literature Start writing as you finish the experiments –Your methods –Your results to identify missing data/needed experiments Seek input from colleagues Consider practical and political issues Patents, secrecy regulations No one way to write a paper
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing Have you written an outline? Have you agreed on who the authors will be? Have you agreed on who is writing each section of the manuscript? Have you selected a journal? Is your command of English grammar good enough?
Judgment Calls Knowing when to start and stop writing Knowing when youve done enough experiments Determining enough versus too much in your story Ask mentors for assistance
Summary Good writing does not make up for poor science Poor writing can mask good science Plan before you start the experiments! –Rationale and hypothesis –Experimental design –Paper outline Early discussions with collaborators Watch your writing improve through… –Practice –Accepting critical feedback