April 13, 1984

How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago


by Robert A. Day (The Professional Writing Series), ed 2; 181 pp, with illus, $17.95, paper $11.95, Philadelphia, ISI Press, 1983.

JAMA. 1984;251(14):1905. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340380081037

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It might be better if editors wrote about auto mechanics or the assembly of children's toys. Both of these subjects are in great need of additional editorial expertise, whereas writing scientific papers, which is what editors do write about, does not need it. After reading several books about preparing manuscripts, one realizes that there are as many right ways to proceed as there are editors writing.

This little volume—one of many books by editors on how to write and publish scientific papers—has little to recommend itself over its competitors. It's a pity, because the volume has been prepared with care and is clearly the product of years of experience. It is best when presenting practical suggestions:

The smart author writes out references (on 3×5 cards, usually) in full (p 43).

The data [in a table] should be organized so that the like elements read down, not across (p 51).