When it first appeared in 1979, How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper outlined the basic structure of scientific articles, and detailed the basics of good scientific writing style. A generation later, those basics remain largely unchanged, but the writing and publishing process is nearly unrecognizable from the days of typewriters and printed galley proofs arriving in the mail.
The seventh edition of the classic guide has now arrived, and co-author Dr. Barbara Gastel tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally how her background as an MD and a Newsweek journalist informed the work. Currently, Dr. Gastel is professor of integrative biosciences, humanities in medicine, and biotechnology at Texas A&M University, where she coordinates the master’s degree program in science and technology journalism.
“It’s hard work to write a scientific paper, but you don’t have to be a literary genius,” Dr. Gastel explains. “I’d say that writing a scientific paper is much more like solving a puzzle than writing poetry. So it’s the type of work that if one’s a good scientist, one should be able to do.”
Dr. Gastel also tells Kenneally about her work for AuthorAID, a global research community that provides networking, mentoring, resources and training for researchers in developing countries.