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Good Writing Beats Bad Writing, Most Any Day

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Moselio Schaechter of the Small Things Considered blog declares scientific writing is improving and highlights several articles in the 2010 issue of the Annual Review of Microbiology to illustrate his point.

"Just when some people believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, here I am, ready to make a cheerful personal statement: Scientific writing is improving! Of course I base this on reading the microbiological literature, but assume that it’s genrally true. What makes me say so? Well, more often than not, current research papers and reviews contain a fair share of simple declarative sentences. In my earlier days, typical statements were often in the passive form: “The effect of X on Y has been studied.” The first person form is now accepted, much to everyone’s relief. And titles of articles tend to informative. Gone is Studies on the metabolism of Escherichia coli: Part XIV. And, although I couldn’t swear to it, I believe that the language in graduate student papers has also improved. Nowadays, even humor is permissible."

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