Ants, Bees, Genomes & Evolution @ Queen Mary University London

Scientific writing

Scientific writing isn’t poetry. Our aim is to communicate information clearly - not to be the next Proust.

This requires good structure and good style.

[2021 update]: everything I wrote here remains valid. Computers have improved though. Thus, in addition to thinking critically about your writing, I strongly now recommend running it through Grammarly. I now use it for most of my lab’s writing.

Below are some thoughts about scientific writing that have helped students & myself. The list isn’t exhaustive:

Structure & Content:



Again, tools like Grammarly or Microsoft Word’s grammar checker can help you with some aspects of writing. I strongly recommend you use such tools. We do. However, you still need to think very carefully and critically about your message, and the software’s recommendations.

New Scientist-type articles have additional challenges:

Additional resources:

February 5, 2015