How to write a scientific paper
The art of writing papers is extremely important to scientists. Communication of scientific information matters as much as doing the experimental work, and the most definitive form of communication is the research paper that has been peer-reviewed and published in a journal. A well-written paper is a pleasure to read, and can be an inspiration to colleagues its the envy of most of us who take many years to learn how to do it well.
In preparing to write a paper, it is important to select your journal carefully, considering the target audience and the journals own statement of its scope. The data you will present are well known to you, but not to others, so you must consider exactly how to lay out the structure of the paper to tell your story as clearly as possible, usually following a sequence of figures that contain the primary data. The writing phase will take you through very many drafts of both text and figures: the fine detail of presentation matters, and it is essential to avoid mistakes if referees spot numerous errors, they lose confidence in your data and conclusions. Once you have submitted your perfect manuscript, there is an anxious wait until the journal responds with a decision. Immediate acceptance is rare, and rejection is common. But with luck you will be given an opportunity to undertake revisions and resubmit the paper, often improved by the referees suggestions and if the editors are satisfied, your work will finally be published.
In this presentation, I will outline the process of preparing, reviewing and publishing a scientific paper, comparing the different perspectives of author, referee and editor.