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Questions tagged [writing]

For questions on the process of writing. For questions on the content of writing, use [writing-style].

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140 votes
7 answers

Choice of personal pronoun in single-author papers

Which personal pronoun is appropriate in single-author papers - 'I' or 'we'? Could the use of 'I' be considered egotistical? Or will the use of 'we' be considered to be grammatically incorrect?
Bravo's user avatar
  • 23.1k
15 votes
5 answers

How should I cite a website URL?

I am currently writing a report and I have been compiling a list of references (from IEEE mostly) and I also have a number of websites. My question is, what is the best way to note a website URL? ...
Callum's user avatar
  • 317
128 votes
17 answers

Software to draw illustrative figures in papers

I would like to have suggestions of good software for drawing illustrations in research papers. I already know about Xfig, but this works only on Linux and is at times, clunky when it comes to text. ...
35 votes
4 answers

Can I reuse part of a paper for my thesis?

I am finishing writing my master's thesis (~100 pages) and I also just submitted a paper (8 pages) to a conference. Since both are on the same subject and I am an author on both, is it ok if I reuse ...
Dmitry Chornyi's user avatar
22 votes
8 answers

Can an emotional letter of motivation be harmful in a PhD application?

Today some of my friends were discussing a motivation letter. One friend's application was rejected. One reason his friends find out is that the letter of motivation is very emotional. So I was ...
Supriyo's user avatar
  • 991
7 votes
2 answers

How to address dependencies when publishing a chain of papers

In computer systems, it's relatively common to have a large problem which is broken up into multiple sub-problems, each of which is substantial in its own right and is in the realm of different ...
Snakes and Coffee's user avatar
73 votes
7 answers

Why use version control systems for writing a paper?

I am following the advice of @Piotr Migdal in Is there an internet Git-like repository for collaboration on a paper?, and I want to ask about version controls: how beneficial are they (specially under ...
seteropere's user avatar
  • 13.8k
47 votes
4 answers

Simplest way to jointly write a manuscript?

As with many papers in the sciences, there are multiple authors who aren't physically close to each other. I was curious about the most efficient and simplest way to technically share the writing. On ...
bobthejoe's user avatar
  • 4,765
31 votes
3 answers

Dissertation acknowledgements

I'm at the stage in writing my dissertation where most of the substantive aspects are finished and the only tasks left are more or less administrative. However, one thing that I've been avoiding is ...
smillig's user avatar
  • 410
76 votes
10 answers

How to write an academic paper for the first time?

While writing an answer to that question, I realized I don't really have a good list of resources that could be useful to first-time authors, like MSc or PhD students who write their first paper. I ...
F'x's user avatar
  • 73.4k
42 votes
4 answers

How to find ways to proofread English in papers

As a non-native speaker of English, it can often be hard to spot some of the errors that a native speaker would find. For a long time, I've been thinking about getting a native speaker to help me with ...
Speldosa's user avatar
  • 2,482
41 votes
5 answers

What suggestions should I make when reviewing a poorly written paper?

Since I need a break from the reviewing... Often in my field I review papers from researchers in Asia (reviews are not double blind) which are poorly written. By poorly written, I don't mean that the ...
John Doucette's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers

How to cite sources written in a different language than English?

Assume one wants to cite a paper written in a different language than the article citing said paper (e.g., ones own article is written in English, but the source is French). How to properly handle ...
mort's user avatar
  • 1,790
27 votes
1 answer

Getting secondary citations right

I have some questions regarding secondary citations (in an computer-science research paper that should be published in a journal). I know that they should be avoided when possible, but it is not ...
user3992979's user avatar
18 votes
4 answers

Are spelling and/or grammar mistakes a cause for submitting Errata?

During my studies I've read a number of published articles where spelling mistakes have somehow squeaked through the review process. For example, I have found a paper with a section entitled ...
NauticalMile's user avatar
10 votes
4 answers

How to reference studies mentioned in a paper without having to read the original papers?

I'm review the literature at the moment. Now I'm reading a paper that mention other studies. How can I reference them without reading the original papers?
Kaser's user avatar
  • 385
83 votes
3 answers

What's the point in "the paper is structured as follows"?

Inspired by the recent question on list of figures: what is the point of ending your introduction with a paragraph saying "The paper is structured as follows: in Section 1 we do BLAH, then in Section ...
Federico Poloni's user avatar
65 votes
2 answers

In what tense (present/past) should papers be written?

That is, should it be present tense or past tense? Should there be a difference between the abstract, main body and the conclusion? Does the field of publication have any impact?
User 17670's user avatar
  • 2,260
46 votes
6 answers

Is it mandatory to include the registered trademark symbol ® next to the name of a computer program?

Suppose you write a paper and you use Wolfram Mathematica to do calculations. In the article, should the program be mentioned with the registered-trademark symbol immediately following the name and in ...
User X's user avatar
  • 1,119
45 votes
7 answers

Any place for people with fear of writing?

This isn't the best moment to ask the question, since I should be writing an overdue document and presentation. However, is there any place where a person with fear of writing can work? I am ...
user3411792's user avatar
  • 1,053
44 votes
6 answers

Should I write a paper on open-source software I've built?

I have been fairly active in the open-source software community with a few projects that have gotten some attention. However, my reputation in the academic/publications world is a little bit low and I'...
Luca Matteis's user avatar
  • 1,157
39 votes
7 answers

Resources on how to overcome writer's block, especially for non-native English speakers?

One of the issues we have at my English-language institute is the problem of getting our doctoral students to write papers in English. For some, writing isn't a big challenge. For others, however, the ...
aeismail's user avatar
  • 174k
33 votes
4 answers

How to improve technical writing

Whenever I write an article, I feel the result is not good enough. Although every theorem is solid and correctly proven, something is always "squeaky". The main evidence for my feeling shows itself ...
Ran G.'s user avatar
  • 7,484
27 votes
4 answers

What is the standard/recommended font to use in papers?

I looked around but did not find that anyone has asked this before, but what are the fonts that are standard/recommended while writing academic reports/papers?
Man's user avatar
  • 583
11 votes
3 answers

How do I cite same reference multiple times in a paper?

I am writing a report on CPUs and I need to constantly need to cite technical information from a single reference multiple times throughout the report, specifically the datasheet for an Intel ...
Ailthas's user avatar
  • 111
94 votes
7 answers

Use of first person in a PhD Thesis

Is there a non written rule to which person to use in the PhD thesis, 5 years of using "We" in the papers have brought me to the innate necessity to do it every time I describe something. Recently, ...
Leon palafox's user avatar
89 votes
10 answers

What are the advantages or disadvantages of using LaTeX for writing scientific publications

What are objective advantages or disadvantages of using the markup language LaTeX instead of a WYSIWYG word processor like MS Word or LibreOffice Writer? Please use objective arguments to prevent a ...
Paul Hiemstra's user avatar
45 votes
5 answers

Writing papers in language X and translating to English vs. writing papers in English to begin with?

I'm working with a group in China, and we were discussing the following question, which I would like to ask here too: Question: Is it better to write a paper in Chinese, then translate it into ...
Douglas S. Stones's user avatar
35 votes
13 answers

Is it OK to use GPT-3+ to rewrite your own paper to have better English?

As an example, someone who's not a native speaker of English might come up with the following paragraph (generated using a second-class translation service): Basic principle of gamification is ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
  • 1,558
34 votes
2 answers

How do you "grow your own" post doc opportunity?

I am a finishing doctoral student (graduation in ~7-9 months) and I would love to get an year or so of postdoctoral experience. I've come to understand that a postdoc is generally paid by funds ...
dearN's user avatar
  • 4,270
18 votes
2 answers

Conjugation: Do we cite authors or papers?

When referencing to another work in a scientific paper, do we cite the paper or its author(s)? This question is intended to clarify the conjugation of the verb that follows the reference -- ...
ebosi's user avatar
  • 2,680
17 votes
5 answers

Are there resources for learning how to write a scientific paper?

I have very little formal training, but I believe I have some ideas to share. I have surveyed the terrain of ideas I need and have the complete picture in some haphazard form in my head. It is seeming ...
user avatar
8 votes
4 answers

Active or Passive Voice in International research journal, within the field of microorganism?

I have been composing the International journal for microbiology research. I learn that research journal should consist of active voice not passive, but I find that the previous researchers for ...
rusticmystic's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers

How much of humor in a formal academic writing is considered as disrespect? [duplicate]

In a formal academic writing (in the everyday sense), is it appropriate to use phrases such as "step out on" to titillate the reader? Since I am not a native English speaker, and since I have not ...
Yes's user avatar
  • 7,684
112 votes
15 answers

Why are research papers written in language that's difficult for undergraduate students?

As an undergraduate student, I find it hard to understand research papers on any particular subject. Why don't researchers use simple language for their reports, so that everyone would understand? ...
Greg's user avatar
  • 1,157
88 votes
11 answers

How to train students to write high-quality research papers?

As someone supervising postgrad students, I wonder what is the best way to train these students to write high-quality research papers? The best way seems to be through coauthorship but ... On the ...
badroit's user avatar
  • 13.7k
74 votes
5 answers

How to write a strong introduction into a research paper?

How does one write a strong (good) introduction into a research paper? Some introductions make me really curious about the rest of the paper while others do not. Although it is relatively easy to say ...
mmh's user avatar
  • 2,155
73 votes
12 answers

Is it OK to generate parts of a research paper using a large language model such as ChatGPT?

Large language models (LLMs) are complex neural networks that can capture and represent world knowledge present in the human-generated text as their weights. LLMs are trained on a large collection of ...
Hassan Abedi's user avatar
51 votes
7 answers

How do I overcome fear of rejection when writing academic papers?

I don't know how to put it. I have never published before. Previously my one paper was rejected, that was because the experiments were not ready and my advisor asked me to still submit it just to have ...
user13107's user avatar
  • 2,719
43 votes
5 answers

How can we promote better writing skills in academic education?

This question may be too wide or in some perspective perceived as unclear but covers a key issue (for me) in academia, namely, academic writing. Students start their academic career with varying ...
Peter Jansson's user avatar
43 votes
4 answers

How generous should I be with citations?

I am wondering if it is a bad thing to cite a paper in a scientific publication for a trivial or irrelevant reason. The specific instance I have in mind is the usage of certain terminology. I ...
Jakub Konieczny's user avatar
42 votes
6 answers

Is there an internet Git-like repository for collaboration on a paper?

I've just started using git for tracking changes in a LaTeX paper I'm writing, and for collaboration with co-authors. However, I cannot find easily private git repositories with reasonable plans for ...
Piotr Migdal's user avatar
  • 26.4k
40 votes
9 answers

Does writing matter a lot in research?

I am a PhD student (mid stage) and my work includes the use of mathematics. I try to learn as much as possible. I am facing a problem: I spent enough time on the mathematics required for my research, ...
abaa's user avatar
  • 1,351
32 votes
4 answers

When and why a scientific technical report is written?

While making some paper search in my scientific field, sometimes I find articles that are not published in journals or conference proceedings, but as technical reports. In my experience, I've never ...'s user avatar
31 votes
5 answers

How to write a Ph.D. thesis Introduction chapter?

I am in the process of writing my Ph.D. thesis and struggling with the introduction chapter, what to cover, and what not. This is a technical thesis. The broad area is molecular simulation in ...
cosmicraga's user avatar
  • 1,283
23 votes
5 answers

Are there any good strategies for conveying the true significance of the results that look obvious post factum?

In nearly any field there is a number of important results which look obvious to experts post factum but somehow are not that easy to come by in the first place (e.g. in mathematics some important ...
just-learning's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer

How to reuse complete paper for my thesis?

I am currently writing my PhD thesis, and I have published an article together with my supervisor. The third chapter of my PhD thesis (1/3 of my whole thesis) is basically the paper. I plan to include ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 935
16 votes
4 answers

Acknowledging the discussion with someone in the paper but excluding this person as a reviewer: how to do this?

While writing a paper I discussed its first draft with a certain colleague (he is from a different university, so it is not likely that he will be automatically ruled out as a reviewer as suggested in ...
just-learning's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers

What are we expected to do when citing literature?

Open any research article and it is littered with citations. I’ve recently been wondering what is expected of us when citing the literature: Are we expected to cite every reference relevant to our ...
luciano's user avatar
  • 1,983
15 votes
3 answers

How to send a research proposal to find potential PhD supervisor?

I am trying to look for a PhD position by contacting potential supervisors through email. I have made a list of professors who I found interesting through searching some papers and their department ...
bingung's user avatar
  • 3,577