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Author: Michaela Panter

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How Many Google Scholar Hits Is Enough When Searching for Field-Specific Terms?

In other articles, we described how to use Google Scholar to determine field-specific conventions, how to perform advanced Google Scholar searches, and how Google Scholar is different from Google Ngram Viewer.

Understanding Submission and Publication Fees

What are the different kinds of fees that scholarly journals charge to research authors?

The Ethics of Peer Review

Understand the ethical implications related to the peer review process, as an author, reviewer, or editor.

Publishing in Regional Scholarly Journals

What are the benefits (and risks) of publishing research in a regional journal?

12 Tips for Accelerating Manuscript Publication

12 best practices for getting your research manuscript published faster.


Defining Plagiarism

What exactly is plagiarism in the context of academic research writing?


Avoiding Plagiarism

How to avoid accusations of plagiarism with your research manuscript and increase its chance of publication.

Writing a Grant Proposal

When applying for funding, researchers typically focus on emphasizing the feasibility, novelty, and significant implications of their work. However, contrary to expectation, research (whether published, planned, or preliminary) is not the sole consideration in grant proposal writing. If three factors beyond the research itself are neglected, a proposal based on...

Effective Transitions in Research Manuscripts

Good transitions can strengthen the argument in your academic writing by joining ideas and clarying parts of your manuscript.


The Ethics of Manuscript Authorship: Best Practices for Attribution

Understand the ICMJE criteria for authorship with a free white paper.


Editing Tip: Colon Usage

The colon (:) is a punctuation mark used for illustration or emphasis. Unlike the semicolon, colons represent a closer link between the two parts of a sentence and require only the first half of the sentence to be an independent clause. You are most likely familiar with the use of...

Editing Tip: Avoiding Sentence Fragments

How to avoid sentence fragments, which could confuse or frustrate readers and reviewers, in your academic writing.


Case Reports: Confused and Misused Terms

Take care with these commonly confused (or misused) terms in clinical case reports.


Case Reports: Unique Terms

Examples of terminology that are found in case reports but may be deemed incorrect or awkward in other contexts.


Case Reports: Style and Formatting

Here, we discuss small stylistic and formatting touches that may help to increase the clarity of clinical case reports.

Nanopublications and Mini-Monographs

Scholarly publishing is motivated by two objectives: disseminating findings and receiving recognition for research. On the one hand, published work may educate other researchers, provide the groundwork for additional studies, and inspire professional collaborations. On the other hand, citations are an integral component of academic job applications, tenure reviews, and...


Editing Tip: Using a Thesaurus

Choosing the right word to convey an idea can be challenging. There are three main reasons to strive for effective word choice, or diction: Style: To make your writing more engaging by using varied language Tone: To express your meaning in a professional way, using a formal tone Content: To...

Editing Tip: Strategies for Splitting Long Sentences

In a previous article, we discussed three different types of long sentences that can be divided into two or more sentences without losing meaning. In this article, we outline three specific indicators of where a lengthy sentence can be split.


Publishing on Behalf of Others

Due to both the collaborative nature of research and the dynamic quality of research teams, scientists often find themselves submitting findings on behalf of others. For example, as a principal investigator (PI), you may need to include your laboratory members’ methods and results in a grant proposal. Alternatively, as a...

Editing Tip: Parenthetical Elements

A parenthetical element is information that is nonessential to the meaning of a sentence, such as an example, a clarification, or an aside. This type of sentence component may include the following types of clauses and phrases, as long as the information is nonrestrictive: Relative clauses, which commonly begin with...

More Misused and Unique Terms in Clinical Papers

This article covers commonly confused terms in clinical medicine manuscripts and case reports.

How to Choose Between General and Specialized Journals

Choosing the right journal for your research can accelerate the publication of your manuscript. In particular, you need to review a journal’s scope and publication history to determine the best fit. However, whereas identifying a journal that is focused on your field seems relatively straightforward, deciding whether to submit your...


Ghost Authorship

In this article, we extend our previous discussion of the ethics of manuscript authorship to an issue that haunts both academia and industry: ghost authorship. Ghost authorship is essentially the opposite of honorary authorship, entailing a significant contribution to a manuscript without acknowledgment of that contribution. The most well-known scenario...


Editing Tip: Lists

A list is a simple and approachable way to present a collection of ideas. Although list formatting is relatively flexible, especially when involving bullet points, lists typically adhere to a few key rules:


Editing Tip: When to Use “And” and “Or”

The conjunctions and and or connote very different meanings. In particular, and suggests the joint consideration of two concepts, whereas or suggests exclusivity. Consider the following two examples:

Proofreading Academic Writing: Human vs. Machine

Automated proofreaders offer some advantages, but they are not always the best choice for proofreading a manuscript full of your research.


Editing Tip: Punctuating Quotations

Quotations can provide supporting evidence for your ideas and make your prose more engaging for your reader. To integrate this type of information into your writing, the following punctuation rules may be of help:

Choosing Effective Keywords

As the volume of research output and the number of journals expand, identifying relevant studies in the literature is becoming increasingly challenging. To facilitate online article searches, most journals require authors to select 4-8 keywords (or phrases) to accompany a manuscript. Keywords may also be used to match a specific...

How to Edit Productively

Best practices on how (and when) to edit your research manuscript.

Editing Tip: Commonly Confused Terms in Data Analyses

Research studies in numerous fields require quantitative analyses. Beyond actual data and equations, specific terminology is needed to clearly convey and discuss results. However, several words that are commonly used when describing data are also frequently confused. This editing tip outlines a few of these terms.

Translating Academic Writing: Human vs. Machine

With the increasing number of research articles by non-native English speakers and a lack of spare time in researchers' schedules, automated translation may seem like an appealing option. Similar to automated proofreading, this type of system is readily available and often low cost or free. Google Translate, which bases its...

Editing Tip: More Pesky Pairs of Similar-Sounding Words

Here, we build off another article on “pesky pairs” to outline more English words that sound alike but differ in meaning. Incorrect use of these terms may confuse or distract your reader, so understanding the distinction between the words below can be helpful when communicating your research.

Indefinite Article Use with Abbreviations

How to choose the right indefinite article ('a' or 'an') in front of an abbreviation.


Editing Tip: When to Use Abbreviations

Technical fields are loaded with abbreviations and acronyms whose meanings experts take for granted. In a manuscript, it may be especially tempting to abbreviate terms to meet word count targets and to make otherwise long sentences more readable. However, abbreviation overuse can instead reduce readability, forcing a non-specialist reader to...

Crafting an Appropriate Running Title for your Scientific Paper

How to write a good running title (or short title) for a scientific manuscript.


Sharing Your Findings with a General Audience

Tips and guidelines for conveying your research to a general audience are increasingly widespread, yet scientists remain wary of doing so. Grant application approval and high-impact journal publication are often prioritized as the ultimate goals of research and writing in the sciences, especially because these time-consuming objectives are essential for...

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Word Counts in Your Research Paper

Three strategies for concise academic writing by eliminating unnecessary spaces, repeated units, and wordy transitions.


Editing Tip: Proper Usage of Latin Terms

Latin terms are extensively used in scientific writing. Although these words and phrases may help to convey meaning concisely, they may also obscure meaning due to misuse. Additionally, despite seeming sophisticated, certain Latin terms may in fact be too informal for manuscripts and other technical writing. Below, we review the...

Writing Acknowledgments for Your Research Paper

Defining what types of contributions to a research paper warrant acknowledgment.


Evaluating Research Credibility: 3 Misconceptions

Writing a background section or a review requires combing the vast online literature to identify the most relevant prior work. However, beyond relevance, sources must be credible, which is often assessed based on not only high-quality research design but also reputation in the field. The standings of the journal, the...

Editing Tip: Indefinite Article Use with Elements

How to choose the right article (a or an) with chemical elements.


Editing Tip: Avoiding Incorrect Noun Pluralization

Two common pet peeves among language editors relate to incorrect noun pluralization, most often meaning that “s” or “es” is unnecessarily added to the end of a noun. The first type of error is unnecessary pluralization of a noun used as an adjective, also known as an attributive noun. For...

Advanced Google Scholar Searches for Field-Specific Terms

Find the right term to use in your research paper using Google Scholar's advanced search

Researcher Tools Review: Delicious

Staggering increases in global research output, increased access to that output, and increasing value placed on output beyond journal articles are popular topics these days. How to gauge the quality of the large quantity and new types of output is also a major discussion point, spawning debates about such issues...

“Data Not Shown” - 4 Reasons to Omit a Figure or Table

The phrase “data not shown” peppers scientific manuscripts, referring to findings that are relevant enough to be mentioned but not to be depicted in a figure or table. This lack of visual evidence seems to contradict the scholarly focus on careful documentation, including detailed materials and methods sections, numerous figure...


Using Google Scholar vs. Ngram Viewer to Determine Field-Specific Conventions

We previously discussed the use of Google Scholar to determine field-specific conventions, including by employing advanced search techniques. In this article, we will compare the utility of Google Scholar and Google Ngram Viewer for the same purpose.


Editing Tip: Avoiding Noun String Overuse

As mentioned in another article on the ARC, attributive nouns, also known as nouns serving as adjectives, are frequently used to reduce a manuscript’s word count. For example, the phrase “caspase expression,” in which 'caspase' is an attributive noun, is 50% shorter than “the expression of caspase.” However, this strategy...

Using Unbiased Language to Discuss Disease

How to convey respect toward patients when writing about diseases.

Using Unbiased Language to Discuss Disability

How to remain sensitive when discussing disability in academic writing.

Editing Tip: Avoiding Preposition Overuse

We previously discussed how to avoid noun string overuse, which may occur when nouns are used as adjectives for the sake of conciseness. However, a different problem may arise when noun string use is minimized: preposition overuse. A string of multiple prepositions in a single sentence can make the text...


Editing Tip: Common Prepositional Verbs

Prepositional verbs, or verbs that are paired with prepositions, can be challenging for any writer, especially because there are few consistent rules about preposition use in English. Below, we outline 10 prepositional verbs that are commonly misused in academic writing. Correct usage may improve the flow and clarity of your...

Editing Tip: 'Case' vs. 'Patient'

In another ARC article, we briefly outlined the difference between the clinical terms case and patient. In sum, a case is an occurrence of a clinical condition, and a patient is an individual with a clinical condition. Additionally, a case is presented or reported, whereas a patient is described. The...


Editing Tip: 'Respectively' Revisited

Our post outlining the basic usage of the term respectively explains its common use with two parallel lists (i.e., two lists with the same number of items), as in the following example:


Editing Tip: Relatively

The term relatively, most commonly defined as meaning “in comparison.”

Writing an Effective Figure Legend

Figures are instrumental for conveying your results but may be inscrutable without an effective legend. Although standards for writing legends vary from journal to journal, there are a few common principles that may help to ensure clarity.

How to Write a Professional Email

Make a great impression with a professional-sounding academic email.

Using Elliptical Constructions to Write More Concisely

An elliptical construction is a sentence from which one or more words are omitted for the sake of conciseness. This act of omission is also called elision. The meaning of the shortened sentence should still be clear, however, based on the surrounding context. One very common type of elision is...