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Books, Journals, New Media
March 2, 2005

Medical Writing

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;293(9):1142-1146. doi:10.1001/jama.293.9.1142-a

In 2003 Scott L. Montgomery, a geologist and historian of science, presented us with a little gem of a book, The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science (University of Chicago Press).1 Although he gave scant attention to writing for the medical literature, his comments and suggestions were generic and applicable to all aspects of science. Robert B. Taylor, MD, of the department of family medicine of the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine focuses on writing for the medical literature. His book, too, might be described as a little gem, sparkling with advice, hints, and help, pushing and prodding the prospective but fearful (or lazy) writer to produce work that reveals some genius, knowledge, or talent. Dr Taylor freely acknowledges that the medical literature is replete with nonsense, me-too papers that accomplish nothing other than adding a few lines to the author’s curriculum vitae. He recognizes, as do we all, that many papers are almost totally incomprehensible and holds the reader of his book to the high standard of writing something of value that other physicians can actually understand and appreciate.

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