Category: academic writing

To save the research literature, let’s make literature reviews reproducible

Last week the Impact Blog featured a post from Richard P. Phelps, in which he proposed that journals get rid of their requirement for a literature review. Arnaud Vaganay agrees with much of what Phelps said, literature reviews are erratic and self-serving, but suggests doing away with them altogether is likely to make science less efficient and less credible. Instead, […]

Book Review: Cultivating Creativity in Methodology and Research: In Praise of Detours edited by Charlotte Wegener, Ninna Meier and Elina Maslo

The collection Cultivating Creativity in Methodology and Research: In Praise of Detours, edited by Charlotte Wegener, Ninna Meier and Elina Maslo, is comprised of short essays that offer imaginative detours from conventional academic wisdom to reflect on lived experiences of research. While the volume at times risks emphasising the unhappy aspects of academic life over and above the potential for creativity, […]

To save the research literature, get rid of the literature review

The literature review is a staple of the scholarly article. It allows authors to summarise previous work in the field and highlight what makes their own contribution an original or novel one. But when those previous studies are misrepresented by an author, or even dismissed altogether amid claims of a “paucity of research”, isn’t the knowledge base in fact degraded […]

A scientific paper shouldn’t tell a good story but present a strong argument

A recent Impact Blog post extolled the benefits of using a storytelling approach when writing a scientific paper. However, while such an approach might well make for a compelling read, does providing an arresting narrative come at the expense of the reader’s critical engagement with the paper? Thomas Basbøll argues that the essential “drama” of any scientific paper stems from […]

A scientific paper shouldn’t tell a good story but present a strong argument

A recent Impact Blog post extolled the benefits of using a storytelling approach when writing a scientific paper. However, while such an approach might well make for a compelling read, does providing an arresting narrative come at the expense of the reader’s critical engagement with the paper? Thomas Basbøll argues that the essential “drama” of any scientific paper stems from […]

Don’t let publication be the end of the story – transforming research into an illustrated abstract

Publishing research that can be accessed as widely as possible is clearly crucial, but ensuring that research is accessible to similarly large groups of people is an altogether different challenge. The CC BY license, required by many funders when publishing open access, permits users to transform and build upon the licensed content, creating something new and original. Lucy Lambe explains […]

Alphabetical name ordering is discriminatory and harmful to collaborations

When multiple authors collaborate on an article, book, or report, the order in which they are listed is important. How this is done may vary by scientific discipline, with most determining the order according to the authors’ respective contributions. But some fields continue to follow the convention whereby authors are listed in alphabetical order. Matthias Weber argues there is convincing […]

Writing a page-turner: how to tell a story in your scientific paper

People love stories. We watch, read, tell, and listen to stories every day. Despite this, most researchers don’t think in terms of story when they write a journal paper. To Anna Clemens, that’s a missed opportunity, because storytelling is easy to implement in your manuscript provided you know how. Think of the six plot elements – character, setting, tension, action, […]

Understanding the frustration of academic writers

Have you ever found yourself unable to complete a piece of writing because something else got in the way: a more urgent commitment, a lack of crucial information, an inability to find the right words? If yes, then you are probably well acquainted with frustration, an emotion commonly felt by academic writers but seldom explicitly discussed or examined. When Helen […]

Five steps to meeting the challenges of maintaining an appropriate writing voice

It’s often said that to embark upon a PhD you must be passionate about your topic. But when it comes to writing up your thesis, being passionate can seem at odds with the need to maintain an academically cool and objective writing voice. Daniel Beaudoin shares five simple steps to keep the “me” in check; including firstly by recognising that […]