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