I recently had the opportunity to talk to a prolific Japanese researcher—let’s call him Dr. K—about how he writes his research manuscripts in English. As Dr. K’s first language is not English, he relies on a professional proofreading service to polish his final draft. That said, he is proactive even in the initial stages of writing and revising his paper and follows a robust scientific writing process that involves combining the use of technology with strong writing instincts. Interestingly, while Dr. K is quite familiar with the rigors of academic prose, he attributes his improved academic writing skill not just to his many years of experience or his use of smart technology, but to his continuous investment in learning how to write research papers in English.
What is scientific writing?
Scientific writing has a unique style and a set of well-defined practices associated with it. Authors are required to use clear, simple, and direct language. The content is structured, and the paragraphs flow in a logical format so the research can be easily digested by readers. The abstract must highlight the value of the research to draw interest within the required word limits; then, from the introduction through the conclusion, the necessary elements should be included in a coherent way using standard expressions and the prescribed voice and tenses. The scientific writing should be concise, free of redundancies and errors. The preferred tone is formal, and unambiguous vocabulary is encouraged. Abbreviations are defined at their first instance. Inconsistent styles are rendered uniform. And when referring to others’ work, a citation is inserted.
At Paperpal, we believe in building technology that empowers researchers to become better writers, faster. By helping them understand the thinking behind various errors, we hope that the technology can have a greater impact on researchers’ publication prospects.
How our science writing tips can help
If you have ever had a paper rejected due to poor English, poor structure, or poor readability, learning how to become a good scientific writer can go a long way. So, when we designed our AI-based writing assistant, we incorporated educational messaging and writing tips to help you understand common English writing mistakes that can hamper the quality of your scientific writing and make your paper hard to understand.
Paperpal combines cutting-edge AI and NLP technology with the intelligence of academic writing experts to generate automated tips to improve your writing. The tips cover common scientific writing requirements, such as avoiding contractions, sentence construction mistakes (comparison errors, run-ons, comma splices, etc.), and readability issues (nominalizations, parallelism, redundant writing, and so on).
When a tip is present, you will be able to see “Writing tip” in the suggestion card pop-up for an individual edit. Clicking on the plus sign next to “Writing tip” will expand the card so you can view the detailed explanation for the error. Further, seeing how these tips apply to your own writing across multiple examples in your manuscript can help reinforce the learning and keep you from repeating the same kind of errors again.