How can individual researchers assess their writing strengths and weaknesses (and improve on those weaknesses)? Last week I gave you four ideas.
How can research-driven organizations/institutions help with that assessment and improvement? In many of the same ways:
- Hire a staff editor with some domain expertise to work with its researchers;
- Hire a professional writing coach to evaluate manuscripts and the strengths and weaknesses the researchers are displaying in those manuscripts;
- Put on two- or three-day writing workshops for its researchers, led by a scientific writing coach and scientists who write well (the manuscripts might be peer-reviewed papers, pieces for non-specialists, or a mix of both);
- Develop an internal communications platform where researchers can get candid, supportive feedback on their writing from their peers;
- Develop an external-facing platform (OK, a blog) where researchers can publish at low stakes.
A list member writes:
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This morning while working on a proposal with some super collaborators I found myself thinking that my writing skills could use some work. I know they always can, for everyone, but then I wondered:
How can I assess my writing skills to highlight current strengths and weaknesses without going back to college?
A number of people have sent me the recent Nature column listing novelist and screenwriter Cormac McCarthy’s tips on how to write a great science paper. Have you seen it?
McCarthy has provided (I was surprised to learn) “extensive editing to numerous faculty members and postdocs at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico” as well as other well known scientists.…Read More