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Ultimate guide to planning well-organised manuscripts for life scientists: an English scientific editor's top tips

Planning is essential for well-organised manuscripts

It’s no secret that experienced authors  — whether they write technical documents, children’s books or romance novels — make solid plans and outlines before they write a single word.

In the same way, I recommend you should plan your whole manuscript as a simple list of bullet points before you start to actually write. That's because it is virtually impossible to write well if you haven’t...

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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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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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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.