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Article
January 9, 1904

WHY SCIENTISTS ARE POOR WRITERS.

JAMA. 1904;XLII(2):101-102. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02490470029004

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Abstract

"A Plea for Better English in Science" is made in a recent number of Science. The writer has passed judgment on about 100 manuscripts submitted by scientists, and decides that but 19 per cent, are good, 57 per cent, fair, and 24 per cent. are poor. Of these authors, about 75 per cent, have had collegiate or university training, and no fewer than 20 of them are now professors or instructors in leading universities and schools of science. Yet most of these 20 are placed in the "fair" class, and some even "poor." "Thus it appears that scientific and university life, with the preparation in lower schools which this implies, does not insure good English." This deficiency is ascribed in large part to neglect, the ability to write clearly and forcefully is considered as lying dormant, lacking a stimulus properly directed to bring it to light. If this is the

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