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Using respectively correctly

 

Respectively is a very useful word in scientific writing; however, we often see this word used incorrectly.

Here are some sentences that use the word “respectively” in the wrong way.

Can you identify what’s wrong with each sentence?

 

1. The P53, Bcl2 and Bcl-x antibodies were purchased from Cell Signaling and Invitrogen, respectively.


2. The leaves and flowers and were used for RT-PCR, Western blotting and immunofluorescent staining, respectively.


3....

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Uniform guidelines for biomedical journals

 

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (IJCME) is a group of science editors from 12 different journals. They have defined a standard set of rules and guidelines for preparing documents for their journals.

These rules are called the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, and cover a number of areas, including the authorship of papers, conflicts of interest, editorial policy and the formatting of documents.

The IJCME website is a...

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Quick guide to scientific words that are easily missed during a spellcheck: free infographic

 

Using the spellcheck tool of your word processing software is a good way of making sure there are no mistakes in your scientific manuscript. 

However, the spellcheck will miss words that are spelled correctly if they are very similar to a word you actually intended to use.  For example, when I was a student I always typed preformed instead of performed – and it drove my PhD supervisor mad!

We often see these types of errors and have made a list of the most...

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160-words-for-your-materials-and-methods

We all know that feeling…writing a manuscript and using the same words over and over again. Sometimes it’s really difficult to think of alternatives, especially when you’re trying to describe complex scientific protocols in the materials and methods section.

We have put together a huge list of useful words for materials and methods sections. Originally we intended to list at least 100, but we just kept adding more and more, and we’re not finished yet! The list is...

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Use of apostrophes in scientific writing

 

Generally, apostrophes indicate either two words that have been shortened into one word (e.g. isn’t) or indicate the relationship between two words (e.g. the boy’s ball). 

Words containing apostrophes are very common in casual written English, like a book or a letter to your friend, but apostrophes are not normally used in scientific writing.

Here are some tips for using apostrophes correctly in scientific writing.

 

Avoid using apostrophes to shorten words
...

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Using adverbs such as “additionally” and “however” as the building blocks of good scientific writing

 

Most students and researchers find it easy to collect information from the literature for the introduction or discussion section of their manuscript.

However, linking different facts together to produce logical, clear text is often difficult, especially if you do not have English as first language.

In this post, we’ll show you how it’s easy to use adverbs as “building blocks” in your writing to link or move between different ideas.

...

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Creating tables in scientific papers: row and column titles, units, error values and sample sizes

 
This is the second post in our series about creating and editing scientific tables. In the first post, we saw how basic table formatting and effective table titles could be used to improve an example of a poorly constructed table.

This post will deal with table row and column titles, units, error values and sample sizes.  Let’s continue with the example table that we began to improve in the first post.

  

Fig. 1: Improved table after placing values...

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Creating tables in scientific papers: basic formatting and titles

 

Tables are a very important part of scientific papers. A good table should present the data simply, clearly and neatly, and allow the reader to understand the results without having to look at other sections of the paper. A bad table can be very confusing, and may reduce the chances of your paper being accepted.

In this post, we will look at the basic rules for creating effective scientific tables.

Let’s begin with an example of a bad table, highlighting some...

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Why are double negatives so confusing in scientific writing?

 

Recently, I was editing a manuscript and found a sentence that reminded me of the importance of avoiding “double negatives” in scientific writing.

The patient had no abnormal blood glucose or insulin levels.

 

What are double negatives?

Double negative phrases are often used in informal spoken English, for example:  "I didn’t do no cooking", "he never ate no food" and "they don’t know nothing".

In mathematics, two negatives always make...

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How to avoid 12 common scientific writing errors that annoy journal reviewers

 

In this post, I’m going to provide a quick overview of the most common basic errors our editors see in scientific manuscripts.

 

1. Check for spelling mistakes

This is obvious, yet it is surprising how many spelling mistakes our editors see in manuscripts. Firstly, use the spell check feature, making sure it is applied to all of the text in the file. Secondly, choose the correct language (e.g., US/American English or UK/British English) for your target journal or thesis...

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Simple, bite-sized tips from an English scientific editor, delivered as short videos you can watch in less time than it takes to drink a coffee.

We know the most common mistakes in scientific writing - and we want you to avoid these errors. 

These easy-to-understand videos will show you how to avoid basic mistakes and help you write manuscripts with more confidence.

You'll be able to apply this knowledge immediately, so you can spend more time actually doing research.