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The Scientist’s Guide to Writing:
How to Write More Easily and Effectively throughout Your Scientific Career
Stephen B. Heard

Paperback | 2016 | $21.95 | £17.95 | ISBN: 9780691170220
Hardcover | 2016 | $59.95 | £49.95 | ISBN: 9780691170213
320 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 17 tables.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400881147 |
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A Q&A with Stephen B. Heard

The ability to write clearly is critical to any scientific career. The Scientist's Guide to Writing provides practical advice to help scientists become more effective writers so that their ideas have the greatest possible impact.

Drawing on his own experience as a scientist, graduate adviser, and editor, Stephen Heard emphasizes that the goal of all scientific writing should be absolute clarity; that good writing takes deliberate practice; and that what many scientists need are not long lists of prescriptive rules but rather direct engagement with their behaviors and attitudes when they write. He combines advice on such topics as how to generate and maintain writing momentum with practical tips on structuring a scientific paper, revising a first draft, handling citations, responding to peer reviews, managing coauthorships, and more.

In an accessible, informal tone, The Scientist's Guide to Writing explains essential techniques that students, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career scientists need to write more clearly, efficiently, and easily.

  • Emphasizes writing as a process, not just a product
  • Encourages habits that improve motivation and productivity
  • Explains the structure of the scientific paper and the function of each part
  • Provides detailed guidance on submission, review, revision, and publication
  • Addresses issues related to coauthorship, English as a second language, and more

Stephen B. Heard is professor of biology at the University of New Brunswick in Canada and associate editor of the journal American Naturalist.


"Heard provides a well-written, useful guide across the various scientific specialties, emphasizing the need to create a paper that clearly reflects the goal of the writer and also has literary merit."--Choice

"In an accessible, informal tone, this book explains essential techniques that students, postdoctoral researches, and early career scientists need to write more clearly, efficiently, and easily."--Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

"Heard’s book is both a delight to read and highly informative. . . . The Scientist’s Guide to Writing meets with my approval, strongly. I recommend Stephen Heard’s book to anyone, not just to scientists who choose to improve their academic writing."--Stephen K. Donovan, Journal of Scholarly Publishing


"A tremendous resource for new science writers. Heard writes so that you want to keep reading, which of course is the skill he's teaching in this book. The Scientist's Guide to Writing is carefully considered, engaging, and full of useful ideas."--Mikaela Huntzinger, coauthor of How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook

"Delightfully informative. Heard covers nearly every circumstance in which a scientist may need to write--from preparing a scientific paper for publication, to preparing a grant application, to responding to reviewers. This book is a gold mine of useful guidelines and good advice."--Mark P. Silverman, author of A Certain Uncertainty: Nature's Random Ways

"Writing skills are vital for scientists, contrary to persistent myths among some undergraduates. Stephen Heard has produced a helpful, tightly written guide that will help many in their quest to communicate their research elegantly."--Jeremy T. Kerr, University of Ottawa

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