Scholarly Communications

Writing up

Making sure your research is both readable and findable are critical to maximising its impact.  Use our checklist to help.

Is your language clear, grammar-checked and jargon-free?

Use the Nature Masterclasses resource for lots of free content around writing style.

Have you explained the originality, significance and rigour of your work?

Sell your work to readers, reviewers and REF panellists alike by making it clear in the abstract and introduction what contribution your output is making to the literature.

Have you made your paper as discoverable as possible?

Using strong keywords repeated (judiciously) in the Title, Abstract, Headings, Figure labels, filename, etc is one of the ways you can ensure Search Engines pick up your paper. Read more  on Search Engine Optimisation.

Have you chosen a good article title?

A good title attracts readers and signifies the importance of your paper. 

Have you written a strong and appealing abstract?

Writing a structured abstract is often a good exercise in ensuring you’ve covered the key elements.  Read publisher Emerald's advice on writing a good abstract.

Have you checked that all authors actually qualify as authors?

As the number of multi-authored and 'hyper-authored' papers is on the increase, professional bodies are developing guidelines on what consitutes authorship of a scholarly paper. See:

You might also use the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT) to identify what role each author played and therefore whether they actually qualify for authorship.  More journals are now asking authors to clarify the role they played in producing an article by means of the CRediT taxonomy.

Use freely available tools to check your references and stats.

Penelope is a new tool which will perform a range of checks on your manuscript and adds comments to Word files to mark what needs to be improved, linking to further resources when necessary. These include: sections and statements; adherence to reporting guidelines; good statistical reporting; adherence to data mandates; figures & tables; and references and citations.

The open source statistical package 'R', has created a new (currently beta) Statcheck tool which allows you to check PDF or HTML files for errors in statistical reporting.