Author: Ben Mudrak
Meet our authors:
Posts authored by Ben Mudrak:
Presentations are critical for researchers, so make sure your slides are easy to follow with these tips.
Tips for writing a good Materials and Methods section, improving credibility and reproducibility of your manuscript.
Tips for a strong journal cover letter for your research manuscript.
Learn how to strengthen your research manuscript with strong, meaningful verbs.
Information (and examples) defining the implications of 'that' and 'which,' plus when to use each.
6 ways to make a short, but engaging, title for your scientific manuscript
The hyphen (-) is used to join multiple words into a compound. The main goal of hyphenating a term is to prevent confusion on the part of the reader. Some hyphenated words are found in the dictionary, but others are simply formed by convention. Here are some guidelines for deciding...
It is widely known that each sentence in English starts with a capital (or uppercase) letter. Here are some other cases in which the choice to use a capital or lowercase letter may be less obvious.
Imprecise comparisons in your scientific writing can confuse readers. Here's how to avoid ambiguous wording.
How to make sure your subject and verb agree even if there are intervening words or phrases.
In a previous post, we discussed when to use the relative pronouns 'that' and 'which' in academic writing. These two terms are used to introduce subordinate clauses, with 'that' preceding a restrictive element (something required for understanding of the sentence) and 'which' preceding a nonrestrictive element (something that provides additional...
A free white paper detailing the conventions surrounding the choice of verb tense in a scientific manuscript.
Scientific writing often involves measurements and units such as milliliters (ml) or microns (µm). Measured quantities involving these units are often found in tables or parentheses, and not always within the text of a sentence. However, when a measured amount (e.g., 500 ml) is the subject of a sentence or...
The comma (,) is one of the most widely used punctuation marks in the English language. The comma is frequently misused as well, especially because it can be found in so many different situations. Here, we will provide examples and explanations of some of the common ways that a comma...
It is estimated that there are over 250,000 words in the English language, so it is inevitable to use some of them “incorrectly” at one time or another. Here are a few words that can be especially tricky to authors whose native language is not English, along with an example...
In many manuscripts, it is necessary to provide examples that clarify the subject of a sentence. Often, these examples are preceded by the phrase 'such as' or the word 'including.' The usage of these terms can be confusing, so this tip describes how to properly mention examples in your sentences....
Because of the complexity of academic writing, the use of acronyms or abbreviations is often necessary. Abbreviations can clarify text by providing a shortened “code” for a longer string of words, but there is some confusion about how to use abbreviations appropriately. Can abbreviations be pluralized? What if the abbreviation...
This tip is a follow-up to our previous discussion of using singular or plural abbreviations. One question we have received on several occasions concerns capitalization of words that define an abbreviation. Because the abbreviation is composed of capital letters, many writers believe that the full words that define the abbreviation...
When should you spell out a number in a scientific paper, and when do you use a numeral? Here's how to follow conventions and be consistent.
What are the first and third person in academic writing? Should you use one over the other in your journal articles?
As humans, we tend to ascribe our own feelings and behaviors to anything we are discussing. This process, called anthropomorphism, is as old as our earliest civilizations, and it allows for more engaging and evocative storytelling. But do anthropomorphic phrases belong in scholarly discourse? Can bacteria "like" one carbon source...
Using field-specific terminology properly helps make sure that reviewers will think your manuscript fits in with the rest of the literature. What if you are not sure what the most common spelling of a term is? What if there are two possibilities, and you would prefer to use the more...
Avoiding the use of contractions in research articles.
Avoid informal-sounding and vague terms in your academic writing; adhering to conventions regarding formal tone will help reviewers and readers.
ORCID, the industry-leading unique identifier, helps each ensure credit for every researcher. Why should you get an ORCID?
Long sentences aren't always bad, but too many can make your manuscript unreadable. Here are some suggestions for breaking up sentences that run too long.
Use these tips for cutting out unncessary words in your research manuscript.
An overwhelming amount of research is published each year. The estimate for 2014 was 2.5 million articles, and that number is sure to be higher today. Still, the publication record is only a tiny slice of all the research data in existence around the world. Results that are inconclusive or...
Another article on the ARC describes ways to take longer sentences and split them into smaller pieces. In it, we focused on sentences that contained too much information to easily convey to a reader at once. Here, we'll focus on a different type of sentence that should be split or...
Best practices for writing about research in a way that's understandable to an international audience.
This tip focuses on a pervasive yet unnecessary "rule" of English writing: the ban against splitting infinitives. While splitting infinitives is not often the clearest way to convey meaning, it should not really be considered "wrong" to do so. First, let's define what is meant by splitting an infinitive. The...
How to adjust your Microsoft Word dictionary settings to correctly handle scientific terms.
A few ways to gain experience with peer review early in your research career.
Scientific writing often involves describing new results based on observations and techniques originally described by others. In many of these cases, citing previous work provides the link to the past, but some researchers have become immortalized in common terms and phrases. This tip takes a look at these special terms,...
Today’s article looks at that forgotten mark, the apostrophe. We’ll look at how the apostrophe is used (hint: you can see two ways in this paragraph!), with a focus on research manuscripts.
This article continues our discussion of confusing and misused words, especially in English translations.
Watch out for these false cognates when translating from Spanish to English.
Scientific research relies on careful observation of results and analysis of their cause. Are two factors truly correlated, or is their apparent relationship merely due to chance? For many years, researchers in the sciences and social sciences have relied on calculation of the p-value to help determine whether results should...
Attributive nouns are nouns serving as an adjective. Here's a bit more about how to use them
An article in Current Biology ("The Availability of Research Data Declines Rapidly with Article Age" [subscription required]) uncovered an alarming issue with scientific publishing: data underlying published manuscripts disappear rather quickly. And even worse, it is sometimes impossible to contact any authors of older papers to request raw data in...
What are your options when your research manuscript is rejected by your target journal?
English is a notoriously difficult language, largely due to its many irregular constructs and large lexicon. However, understanding some basic grammatical rules can really create a solid foundation to writing. Unfortunately, there are a few conventions in scientific writing that look wrong but are really standard usage. Here are two...
Certain terms can cause confusion when translating from Portuguese to English. Here's a list.
Among the many choices you have when writing your paper is the particular font you choose. Microsoft Word defaults to the Calibri font, but that doesn’t mean that Calibri is your only choice. In many cases, the initial choice of font is not critical because the journal will typeset the...
How researchers can use Twitter to share their results and build their network.
AJE’s mission is to help research break through. It is our goal to help researchers around the globe get published, share their work, and make an impact on the global research community. With this in mind, we have designed our services to save you time on the details of communicating...
Here are 5 ways researchers can use online sites like LinkedIn and ResearchGate to highlight information about their research that they want others to see.
Figures represent an extremely important, yet often overlooked, aspect of a scientific paper. Figures are often one of the first things that a reader sees when deciding whether to read a paper, and they have the power to convey much more information per square inch than text. Many of you...
This 11-page handout includes tips for writing different sections of a manuscripts and navigating the publishing process.
Free white paper dispelling five myths about open access publishing.
Here are links to some style guides commonly used for academic writing.
Tips and examples to help you respond to peer reviewers in a positive, cordial way.
What are the criteria for definining an open access 'megajournal'?
This brief handout in PDF format details the verb tense appropriate to each section of a scientific manuscript.
A quick overview of the different types of Creative Commons licenses that researchers frequently encounter.
A timeline describing the long, unique history of scholarly publishing - from the 1600s to today.
Hedge terms are often appropriate when describing research results, but take care not to overuse them.
Resources to help you understand plagiarism in academic writing and how to avoid accusations of unethical behavior.
What is self-plagiarism, and why is self-plagiarism wrong?
As a researcher, you invest much of your time and energies into your work. But have you ever wondered how much other researchers around the world or in other fields are publishing? What fields get the most attention? Which journals publish the most articles? And which institutions have the highest...
See maps of international collaboration by researchers in 6 countries around the world.
International collaboration on research papers throughout Europe and the world.
Governmental and funder initiatives like the EU's Horizon 2020 are driving the next wave of the open access movement.
In AJE's Gold Medal Research competition, three deserving researchers were awarded prizes for their research and contributions to the scientific community.
Wish you were more productive in your research lab? Use these 4 tips to get more done each day.
Free downloadable template and tips to help you choose the right journal early in the research process.
Free data reports on the number of research papers published in 2016, plus top fields, institutions, and journals. keywords: research publication 2016, research published in 2016, scholarly publishing in 2016, articles published in 2016, scientific papers published in 2016
Download AJE’s free reports on research collaboration in 2016, both globally and for top research-producing countries.
Tips from successful professors on writing grants that will get funded
Use our helpful template to prepare a journal pre-submission inquiry for your manuscript.
Learn more about preprints and their benefits for authors, including sharing research and getting credit for it more rapidly.