中创房地产是有分量的

科学网[转载]Skillful writing of an awful research paper

2017-12-28 10:12栏目:通信

As a Editor, I have from time to time in this column offered

advice  to  authors  on  the  desirable  elements  of  a  good

research  report.  Like  contrary  children,  for  some  authors

such advice seems to vanish like smoke in a wind. So I take here

a different approach, based on the idea that some folks have

a knack for doing the opposite of what is recommended to them

(like  contrary children).  I present  some  guidelines  for  how

to prepare a research report that is variously boring, confusing,

misleading, or generally uninformative. Whether the author’s

project is imaginative (or not) and the experiments are done

with skill (or not) and the data are scientifically meaningful

(or not) is irrelevant. My advice is solely based on principles of

presenting the objectives, experiments, results, and conclusion

in a fashion that as such no one will finish reading them or, if

they do, readers will have little chance of understanding or

remembering them. Like any form of skillful writing, following

the rules below for awful writing requires practice and a lack of

mental concentration.

Rule 1.  Never explain the objectives of the paper in a single

sentence or paragraph and in particular never at the

beginning of the paper.

Rule 2.  Similarly, never describe the experiment(s) in a single

sentence or paragraph and never at the beginning.

Instead, to enhance the reader’s pleasure of discovery,

treat your experiment as a mystery, in which you

divulge one essential detail on this page and a hint of

one on the next and complete the last details only after

a few results have been presented. It’s also really fun to

divulge the reason that the experiment should suc-

cessfully provide the information sought only at the

very end of the paper, as any good mystery writer

would do.

Rule 3. Diagrams are worth a thousand words, so in the

interest of writing a concise paper, omit all words

that explain the diagram, including labels. Let the

reader use his/her fertile imagination.

Rule 4.  Great writers invent abbreviations for complex topics,

which also saves a lot of words. Really short abbrevia-

tions should be used for very complex topics, and

more complicated ones for simple ideas.

Rule 5.  In referring to the previous literature, be careful to cite

only the papers that make claims that would support

your own, especially those that contain little evidence

for the claim, so that your paper shines in comparison.

Rule 6.  It should be anathema to use any original phrasing or

humor in your language, so as to adhere to the principle

that scientific writing must be stiff and formal and

without personality.

Rule 7.  Your readers are intelligent folks, so don’t bother to

explain your reasoning in the interpretation of the

results. Especially don’t bother to point out their

impact on or consistency with other authors’ resultsand interpretation,

so that your paper can be an island

of original thinking.

So these are a few simple rules for poor scientific writing. If you

follow them faithfully and your paper is rejected or never cited,

irrespective of your native brilliance, you have nonetheless been

successful as a poor writer.