Common Rules for Scientific Writing

Writing scientific paper is a challenging task. Good and proper writing can impart excellence to scientific papers. However, certain mistakes and writing errors can have disastrous effects on scientific papers. These common mistakes in scientific writing are worth paying attention to. By learning to get these details, we can allow the reader to focus on the subject matter of the scientific paper, devoid of any distraction by uncomplicated and unnecessary errors.

Following are provided some common rules for scientific writing. These rules and conventions can guide and help to know and learn about the most basic and common rules for scientific writing.

Some Common Rules for Scientific Writing

  • All pages of the scientific paper should be numbered in a continuous order, except the first page, which is usually not numbered as it is generally understood as page one.
  • Avoid the use of sequence of parentheses, such as (Smith 2000) (Figure 1). Instead, combine the data as (Smith 2000; Figure 1).
  • Avoid in-text citations, such as “…writing experience. (Smith 2000)”. Instead, include the in-text citations inside end punctuation, such as “…writing experience (Smith 2000).”.
  • In-text literature citations must have their full citation provided in the Reference list and vice versa.
  • Define acronyms or abbreviations at the time of first use or appearance in the paper. So that the relative acronym/abbreviation can be used in rest of the paper.
  • Tables and figures should be numbered in the order they appear in the text.
  • Cite figures/tables as (Figure 1) or (Fig. 1) or (Table 1) and not as (see Figure 1) or (see Table 1) or (see Figure 1 attached), etc.
  • The results of other studies are discussed in the past tense, such as “Smith et al. (2000) found that…”.
  • The Methods section of a scientific paper is written in the past tense, as the research must have been already conducted at the time the paper is being written. However, the Results section of a scientific paper is written in the present tense.
  • Scientific names are composed of two words (genus name and species name). They are always written in italics or are underlined. First letter of the genus name is always capitalized, while the species name is not.
  • Generic names must be written in full at their first appearance in the title, abstract, and main text. However, their abbreviated form can be used in these sections, if they are subsequently mentioned.
  • Use simple words and examples rather than complex ones. Similarly, use simple sentences rather than more complicated ones.
  • Double‐space the whole scientific paper, except the abstract, which is single‐spaced.
  • Ensure to cite each and every source, as well as findings reported in the paper.
  • Always spell-check the final paper and carefully proofread before submission.

By following the above given common rules for scientific writing, one can easily learn to compose a scientific paper without any major error or mistake. However, in order to write a completely error-free scientific paper, thorough knowledge and practice is needed.

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