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From The CriticsReviewer: Paul J Casella, MFA, AB (University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine)
Description: This is a concise, practical, well organized handbook to help scientists and physicians to write papers for submission to science journals. It is organized logically, from broad to specific, to provide an overview of the structure of a scientific paper and then to examine each element in detail. It describes the roles of assessors and editors to help authors anticipate the needs of readers. Plenty of subheadings and boxes of information (e.g., "Guidelines for Submission") are included. The book also offers strategies and examples of the writing process at work.
Purpose: Clear and effective writing is needed more than ever these days as science continues to progress. The book meets its objectives by providing clear descriptions of the format and strategies for effective writing in the basic and clinical health sciences.
Audience: Any authors — from students to senior investigators — interested in improving their writing and success at publishing would benefit. The editors and the authors are true teachers. The writing style is engaging, the topics are genuinely interesting, and the voices of the authors come through.
Features: The book addresses the format of a scientific paper, broadly and in detail; the formats of other common scientific manuscripts one would submit for publication; the roles of the different players (authors, editors, reviewers) in the process; the writing and publishing process itself; and other important issues such as ethics and electronic submission. Probably what is most impressive about this edition is how it gets straight to the point (read: it's concise) and its use of practical lists in shaded boxes to help authors. Some additional topics could have been covered, such as additional writing strategies, etc. But there are much longer, more comprehensive books that folks can read if they have the need or interest. The strength of this book is that hits the most important points in just 148 well organized pages.
Assessment: Authors seeking to publish in medical journals will be well served by this book. It is compact and to the point, and still includes examples and helpful lists. The updated chapters and the added topic of open access justify the new edition.