Writing Manuscripts: The Alternative ‘Guide to Authors’

Post provided by EMMA SAYER

If the reviewer doesn't get it, you haven't explained it clearly enough! © Chelm261

If the reviewer doesn’t get it, you haven’t explained it clearly enough! ©Chelm261

“If the reviewer doesn’t get it, you haven’t explained it clearly enough!” This is one quote from my PhD supervisor that I haven’t forgotten. Getting research funded and published depends to a very large extent on our ability to get the point across. Although scientific texts appear to differ wildly from other forms of writing, a good research paper actually follows the same basic principles of effective communication as a newspaper article or advertising text.

There are some fairly simple guidelines on presenting and structuring written information to get the point across and highlight the key messages that are very useful for manuscripts, thesis chapters, proposals, basically any kind of academic writing. At Functional Ecology, we’ve collected tips and tricks from various sources to help authors effectively communicate their research and ideas. Here are our key points:

1) Know Your Audience

A research paper is about communicating your research in a way that makes sense to others. © Vinch

A research paper is about communicating your research in a way that makes sense to others. © Vinch

The central principle for any type of communication is: know your audience. A research paper isn’t just about presenting information – it’s about communicating your research to others. When you start preparing a manuscript, you need to think about who will read it. In the first instance, this is probably a busy editor or reviewer, so you should make sure that you get your key messages across without making your readers work too hard. Good science writing isn’t about using clever-sounding words and sentences, it’s about getting the point across in such a way that readers can understand the research and reach the right conclusion (i.e. the one you want them to reach). Continue reading

Demography Beyond the Population Webinar: Register for Free Now

Webinar logoRegister for FREE for the first ever BES Publishing webinar based on our forthcoming Demography Beyond the Population Special Feature.

This hour long webinar will begin at 1pm (GMT) on Tuesday 1 March. It highlights some of the excellent articles soon to be published in the British Ecological Society journals Special Feature entitled “Demography Beyond the Population”. The Special Feature is a collaborative effort including articles in all six BES journals. This is the first time such a large ecological collaboration has been attempted worldwide. Using a cross-journal approach has allowed us to highlight the strongly interdisciplinary nature of the field of demography to its fullest potential as well as to lay down the foundations for future directions at the interface of ecology, evolution, conservation biology and human welfare. The webinar has several international speakers and will discuss the articles in the Special Feature and the implications for demography research going forward. Continue reading