John Dixon, independent medical writer and trainer in scientific writing skills, provides a useful tip for medical writers who work in MedComms.

John’s Linkedin page is at https://www.linkedin.com/in/johndixonlmm/

John’s web page is at https://librasciencecomms.co.uk

Note these “bites” are recorded online using the zoom.us platform and hence quality may be affected by variability in internet connectivity and quality of webcams. The tips, however, are always first class!

Recorded 29 October 2018. Produced by NetworkPharma.tv

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Transcript

Hi, I’m John Dixon, a trainer in scientific writing, and here’s a bite that I hope may help you with your writing.

Keep your scientific writing clear and simple [NEXT SLIDE]

Frequently, we read scientific documents written in a complicated and long-winded style.

Robert Day, a great author of books on scientific writing said:
There is really only one essential goal in scientific writing: clarity.

John Maddox, a former editor of Nature Journal said:
The truth is that badly written papers are most often written by people who are not clear in their own minds what they want to say.

and Albert Einstein said:
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. [NEXT SLIDE]

Let’s take an example of a typically intelligent-sounding scientific sentence:

A thorough review of the evidence available at the present time persuades us to reach the unavoidable conclusion that the increasing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing the well-observed phenomenon of rising sea levels.

Now, science doesn’t have to sound complicated.

Why not write it as you might explain it out loud to your grandmother or uncle. And if you can’t, perhaps you don’t understand it! [NEXT SLIDE]

Just say it as it is and don’t be frightened to use simple language:

Most studies have shown that rising sea levels are caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Your readers will thank you for the effort you’ve put in to keep it clear and simple.

I hope that’s helpful. For more bites to help your writing, visit networkpharma.tv.

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[For the avoidance of doubt: this video is intended to be freely accessible to all. Please feel free to share and use however you like. Cheers Peter Llewellyn, Director NetworkPharma Ltd and Founder of the MedComms Networking Community activity at http://www.medcommsnetworking.com]