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Blogging about science can provide useful writing skills

January 6, 2009

After nearly a year of thorough review from my peers and a couple rounds of revision, a paper about some work I did for my Ph.D. is formally accepted:

I am pleased to accept your paper [blah blah blah] for publication in [blah blah blah]. Thank you for responding in detail to the comments of the reviewers and the Associate Editor. Your paper now requires no additional revision.

It will still be a couple months (at least) until it is actually out. At that point, I’ll blog about the actual study in more detail.

At this stage it goes to typesetting and they decide if my figures will be look good as is, and so on and so forth. While they do that, an item that is on my to-do list from the editors is:

Paragraph for media release: Please send a brief paragraph describing your article in nontechnical terms to include in our monthly media release.

Having attempted to communicate science through writing on this blog for the past couple of years, I am actually looking forward to writing this paragraph. Distilling technical work down to its essence (without using jargon) is challenging. I think the writing I’ve done here on Clastic Detritus has led to some personal improvement in this regard. Note: I’m not saying I’m good at it necessarily … just that I’m likely better than I would’ve been had I never started this blog.

So, what’s my point? For those researchers out there who might like (or need) some practice doing this kind of writing in preparation for future endeavors, practicing on a blog could be valuable.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2009 2:07 pm

    Your paper now requires no additional revision.

    Woo-hoo!! That’s one of the most satisfying lines to get in a letter, I think.

  2. Erik permalink
    January 6, 2009 2:32 pm

    I used to tell incoming PhDs that the first thing they should do after they choose their thesis topic is too come up with a one or two sentence description of their research that can be understood by someone with no background in whichever field they are in. It saves a lot of rambling and arm-waving the first few times you have to explain it to someone.

  3. January 6, 2009 5:55 pm

    Kim … that statement is indeed sweet music to my ears.

    Erik … that’s a great idea.

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