Writing a Scientific Paper

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					Introduction to Scientific Writing
          Professor Zhengtao Zhu

          Department of Chemistry
  South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
          • Type of scientific writing
          • Writing process
          • Publication process
          • Ethics and rights
                 Scientific Paper
• A scientific paper is a written publication
  describing original research results.

• “A paper is an organized description of
  hypotheses, data and conclusions,
  intended to instruct the reader” (Whitesides, Adv.
  Mater., 16, 1375 (2004))

• “Without publication, science is dead”
                             — Gerard Piel
     Type of Scientific Writing
• Research paper
   Full paper
   Communication or letter
• Review paper
• News or summary on a specific
  research findings
• Book review
• Letter to the editor
• Textbook
                Full Paper
• Relatively complete results on a
  specific topic
• No length restriction in general
• Use IMRAD format
  IMRAD: introduction, method, results
  and discussion
              Short Paper
• Communication, letter, or report
• Significant results with broad impact
• Length restrictions
  JACS Communication: 2 pages
  Applied Physics Letters: 3 pages
  Physical Review Letters: 4 pages
• Special format
           Review Paper
• Summary of the knowledge or recent
  progresses in a scientific field
• For specialists or general audience
• Usually invited by the publisher
• No length restriction in general
• Journals: Chemical Review, Review of
  Modern Physics etc.
          Writing Process

•   Outline
•   Organize the results
•   Styles of a paper
•   Usage of English
•   Revision
         Outline is Essential
• A blueprint of a paper
• Organize the central points of a paper
• List the objectives, hypotheses, and
• Organize the figures
• Contains little text, but the backbone
      Construction of an Outline
•   Title
•   Authors
•   Abstract (write this part last)
•   Introduction
•   Results and Discussion
•   Conclusions
•   Experimental
•   Acknowledgement
•   The objectives of the work
•   The justification for these objectives
•   Background
•   Guidance to the reader
•   Summary /conclusion
•   The open sentence states concisely the
    objective of the work
         “Results and Discussion”
•   Organize according to major topics
•   Separate into several sections
•   Section heading as specific as possible
•   Example
       Section headings
       Figures and schemes (with captions)
       Equations
       Tables (well formatted)
             Style of a Paper
• Figures: labels, units, font size, symbol
  size, figure size
• Images: contrast, unit length
  (magnification), visual appealing
• References: different styles for different
  ACS: Penn, R. L. J. Phys. Chem. B 2004, 108, 12707.
  APS: D. Vanderbilt, Phys. Rev. B 41, 7892 1990.
  Science: J. A. Massey et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 120,
    9533 (1998).
         Usage of English

The elements of style
Author: William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
        Revise and Finalize
• Everyone has a blind spot.
• A good manuscript needs to revise
  many times.
• Spell check.
• Get it done in time
         Publication Process
• Finalize your manuscript with the
  agreement from all the co-authors
• Submit to the journal editor electronically
  or by mail
• Peer-review process
• Decision from the editor
• Revise, resubmit, and accepted
• Proofreading (last chance to revise)
• Published
•   Authorship
•   Originality
•   Copyright
•   Plagiarism
•   Duplicate submission
References on Scientific Writing

• How to write & publish a scientific paper
  Author: Robert A. Day
  Publisher: The Oryx Press.
• The elements of style
  Author: William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
  Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
• Whitesides’ group: Writing a paper
  by George M. Whiteside, published in Advanced
    Materials, vol. 16, no. 15, p1375, 2004.
            Useful Software
• Document editor
   Microsoft office
   Open Office (free)
   Tex and LeTex (old, but professional, free)
• Chemical Drawing
   Chemoffice, chemdraw (www.cambridgesoft.com )
   ChemSketch (http://www.acdlabs.com)
   Bkchem (free, htt://bkchem.zirael.org)
• Drawing Software
   Photoshop and Adobe illustrator (from Adobe)
   Inkscape (free, similar to AI)
   Gimp (free, similar to Photoshop)
• Scientific Plot
   Origin
   Gnuplot (free)

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