Jerzy Woyke, Halina Woyke                         Warsaw 2008

Scientific papers, how they should be not written

Some  time ago I wrote, A guide how to  write MA and PhD theses (1985). Since that time it past nearly a quarter century.
During this time I reviewed many master and doctoral dissertations, as well as many scientific publications for various
domestic and foreign journals.
I found that the guide, How to write the  papers, is not sufficient. In the papers I reviewed, mostly similar errors occurred.
Therefore, I decided to write now a guide: "How scientific papers should not be written."
All the following examples origin from papers sent for publication.

The current guide is not completed. It  will be supplemented.

The English text of this paper was translated automatically by internet.

Do not write: Studies on ........ All scientific papers present studies on something.
You do not need to give Latin names of commonly known species of plants or animals.
Do not write  to general title.
For example: Bee disease in selected apiaries.
Which diseases?
Investigations can not be conducted in not selected apiaries
Selected apiaries, Which and where?
Title should be: American foul brood in 10 apiaries in Warsaw.

It is not enough to give only the name of the author. Also the address of the Department where the work was done should be given,
 as well the e-mail address, for readers who wish to write to the author.

The order of description
The problems should not be described in a different order in subsequent chapters.
The same problems must be described in the same order in the summary, in  he introduction, in the methods, results, tables, discussion and in conclusions.
 Do not describe the same problems in two different chapters.

Style of writing scientific papers
Do not write a normal style.
The scientific paper must be written in a special brief simple style.
Especially unnecessary words should be avoided..
The editors and reviewers pay particular attention to eliminate redundant words!

The reader does not wish to waste his time for reading redundant words and unimportant details.
He wishes to get acquainted with the most important findings presented in few words.

Do not write – The investigation showed, that…..- every result is the effect of investigation. Describe directly the results.

Authors often do not know how briefly and simply describe a question. Therefore, they use lots of unnecessary words

 Should be no longer than 250 words.

Do not describe what was studied, - then the reader knows nothing.
Instead, describe the most important  results.
Do not present in the abstract and in the  summary, (after the mean) ± SD – standard deviation-, or ±  s.e . –standard error -.
 Frequently the author himself does not know what conclusions can be drawn from this information. Simply present only the mean (average).
Do not write: Analysis of the five-year research showed, that the weight of collected pollen depended from….. 
Write immediately the result: Mass collected pollen depended from....

Do not describe papers, which are not directly related to the subject of your investigated.
Introduction should be not a review paper. It should not be given in detail the results of others' research. You just mention other papers.
Do not describe and summarize all the papers separately.
Present the problem and then cite the names of all authors who worked on this question.
Cite in the order of the date (year) of publication.
Purpose of writing scientific work
The purpose, to write original scientific work is to present new findings of the author.
Therefore, you should not describe in detail others' published papers.
In some manuscripts, description of papers of other authors occupies half the paper in the chapters Introduction and Discussion.
This is  wrong. It is contrary to the objective to write their own original scientific paper.

Results should not be presented in any order.
Results should be presented in the same order as it was described in the Method.

Do not present row material.
Material presented in the tables should present the summarized results, worked out statistically.

Do not write: Statistical analysis of the results obtained showed,  that .... Write immediately what the analysis showed.
Do not write: The investigation showed that…Instead write what was shown.

Do not write for example: Mean production of honey from rape was higher than that from acacia.
The difference between them was significant. – many words and nothing is known.
Instead write: The average harvest of honey from rape (15kg) was significantly higher than that of acacia (10kg).

When you compare any values (mean, averages), you can not write that one was higher than the second or similar to it,
 unless you proved this statistically.
Do not write that one value depend on the other, unless you calculated the correlation..
Correlation should be presented as follows:  r = 0.7, p = 0.03 (exact number not p <0.05), n (or df) = 129

Tables should not present  raw results.
Without a detailed analysis of them, usually nothing is visible
The tables should summarize the findings. The main results should be easily visible.
The reader should be able easily to verify the conclusions of the author.

 The table should include the following columns: Number of items ..., range (from-to),
mean (average), standard deviation and depending on the needs, - the coefficient of variation.

The titles of tables and titles (headlines) of columns and rows should not have the same words.
The title of the table should be more general than the titles of columns and rows.

Do not present the same data in tables and figures Or table, or figure. 

Do not describe in details, the tables and figures. The reader sees them.
Based on the tables and figures, draw the conclusions and explain them, citing only the number in brackets
eg (27%) to inform the reader what you are describing.

The data in a table should not be presented with different accuracy.
 – Once, one place after the point (22.1) and other time two places (22.12).  Mostly one place after the point suffices.
The titles of tables and figures

Do not write the titles of tables or figures like:
The results of infestation by the Varroa destructor. All data in the tables or figures present the results.
Such title is good as the title of a paragraph.
Sometimes, the reader has difficulties to find out, what really present the data in the tables or the bars in the figures. 
The title of the table or figures should inform what present the numbers in a table or the bars in a graph.
The above title should be changed into:
Average percentage (not results) of infestation by Varroa destructor……- The data in tables, or the bars in figures present the % of infestation.

The title of a diagram should not be: Fig. 12. Diagram of  regression between ...... – Everybody sees, that the figure presents diagram and not a table.
The discussion should not present a general review paper on problems not directly related to the investigation.
To make the discussion clear, it should be kept as short as possible.
 The discussion should take into account two main questions:

1./ Explanation of our results, explanation of the causes of the existence or absence of significant differences. 
     Explanation of the presence or absence of correlation.

2./ Comparison of our results of investigation with the results of other authors.

The questions should be discussed in the same order as they were  described in the chapter Method and Results.

Do not repeat here the results, described already in the Results chapter.

Do not describe in detail the results of other authors.

Do not discuss separately each paper.
Mention just the question, and then cite all the names of other authors and the year of publication. what

This should be not a long text.
It should be as short as possible
Present only few points – 5 to maximum 10.
Do not present the points in any order.
The order should be the same as the problems were described in the Result chapter.

Do not write: 3 / Based on the obtained results, it can be concluded that     
or Taking into account the results obtained, the following  conclusions were drown out.
It is known that all the conclusions, are drown out, upon the results obtained.

Do not summarize results of other authors.
Do not describe in the introduction what was investigated. Instead, briefly describe the purpose and method of the investigation.
Do not hide your results among the descriptions of other authors.
Instead, highlight your own research.
The reader of this summary is not interested in results of other authors.
Do not write long summary
The reader do not wish to waste his time for reading redundant words and unimportant details.
He wishes to get acquainted with the most important findings presented in few words.

Do not number the positions of successive papers.
Do not differentiate used symbols. For example, before the pages, do not use, once : (colon) other time , (coma) 
and still other time. (point) or ; (semicolon).

Do not write the numbers of volumes of journals, in which the paper was published like in original,  for example, once 21 (Arab) and another time XXI (Roman).
In your list of literature, volumes of all journals should be presented the same way,
-    , or  all 21 (Arab) or all XXI (Roman).
The titles of the papers do not write as they are written in the original publication, -  for example:
All Words Begin With Capitals.
Please write, as in this sentence. Only the first letter of the first word in capital.
However, all Nouns, in the Titles of Papers written in German should start with Capitals