Science Needs Great Writers!

The most effective and impactful scientists are not just good at what they do; they’re also good at communicating what they do, both verbally and in writing. The more public aspect of communication includes oral presentations and seminars at conferences or in class rooms. These activities can inspire or discourage depending on the skill and talent (or lack thereof) of the speaker.

However, scientists spend the great majority of their time in less public settings, often in solitude – reading, thinking, synthesizing…and writing. For those of us working in academia, writing is the ‘bread and butter’ of what we do, to justify the need for research funding, support trainees’ scholarship applications/manuscripts/theses, interpret and summarize results of studies, and draft/co-author manuscripts to submit to and publish in academic journals. When someone asks me how I spend my days at work as a researcher, I often tell them that I spend most of my time writing (writing emails: too much time; writing papers and grants: never enough time). It’s part art, part science, and part of our vocation that generally improves with practice and over time.

With those points in mind, you might be interested in a recent commentary in CMAJ about the importance of writing, both clearly and effectively.


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