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April 13, 1984

How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

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

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


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).