How to Write a Paper in a Scientific Journal Format

As part of a community of scientists and researcher, getting your work published in a scientific journal to be reviewed by peers and colleagues is probably one of your biggest goals.

As a scientist, the thought of your writing being scrutinized can be overwhelming. However, writing in a scientific journal format is a challenge you can conquer –all you need to do is follow the structure of any scientific paper, and keep the following guidelines in mind at all times:

Basic grammar, spelling and structure are a must!

Even if this seems pretty obvious, you’d be surprised how many people forget that basic language skills are essential to get an idea across. Poor grammar, a simple spelling mistake, or a misplaced punctuation mark may alter the meaning of a sentence completely –so look out for “easy-to-miss mistakes” that may render your hard work useless.

Also, make sure each paragraph is composed of one clear, main sentence, supported by the rest of the text in said paragraph.

Know your audience.

Always keep in mind who you target audience is. Usually, papers to be published in scientific journals are meant for your peers, so keep your writing simple, concise and interesting. In other words, write something YOU would like to read.

Organize your ideas.

Before you begin writing, you need to know how the information is going to be presented to your readers. Take a few minutes to organize your ideas before attempting to write your first draft.

Follow the standard structure of any scientific paper: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusions, and references.

Watch your language!

Learn how to communicate with your audience and get your ideas across while avoiding overly technical terms and expressions. Stick to what you are certain your target audience already knows!

You don’t have to impress anybody by reading an entire dictionary just to find a couple of “big” words that nobody else even knows. However, you should also stay away from any slang or improper dialects; your readers expect proper language if they are to take the time to look at your work.

Consistency is crucial!

The whole purpose of developing a specific technical terminology is to say more with fewer words. When you use technical terms, make sure you use them properly and consistently to avoid confusion and chaos.

The proofreading phase

Read your paper two or three times to make sure readers can navigate smoothly from one section to the next. Hand your paper to someone else to get an opinion and be open to criticism. Sometimes, the only way to spot our own errors is through someone else’s perspective.

By keeping these guidelines in mind at all times, your work will have no problem meeting the standards of encouraging peers and criticizing colleagues alike.