Scientific writing (fall edition) - 2015


To become a successful scientist, it is not sufficient to have a good theoretical background and to learn innovative technical skills, it is necessary to develop good writing skills so that you can efficiently communicate your ideas and results. Your articles and proposals need to be attractive and informative so that they get read and cited. This course aims at providing conceptual criteria and practical examples on scientific writing style, and useful suggestions on how to plan, draft, and write the final version of your paper.

The lecturer has extensive teaching and scientific writing experience, he has advised 13 PhD dissertations and many more MSc thesis. You may find recent writing samples in Rosell-Fieschi et al. (2013), Pelegrí et al. (2013), Benazzouz et al. (2014), Rosell-Fieschi et al. (2014).

Programme information: 

Morning sessions focus on improving your writing skills, afternoon sessions target on developing good manners that will help improve a paper’s structure. All sessions have conceptual and practical periods. Students are encouraged to bring a sample of their own work, preferably an ongoing paper, to be developed throughout the course. Students shall also bring two papers (one from a specialized journal and another from a high impact generalist journal, e.g. Nature, Science, PNAS), to be carefully analyzed throughout the course.

Day 1 – morning. Words, sentences and paragraphs. Object, subject and verb. Compound words and prepositional phrases. Grammar and punctuation rules. Numbers, abbreviations and acronyms.
Day 1 – afternoon. Dissemination, review and research articles. Standard story structure: opening, challenge, action, analysis and resolution. Story structure for short papers: lead, development, resolution. Setting up an attractive story: simple, concrete, credible, emotional, modular.
Day 2 – morning. Constructing sentences: topic, action/challenge and stress. Tense choice: old and new information. Active versus passive voices. Fuzzy verbs and nominalizations.
Day 2 – afternoon. Planning and drafting your scientific paper. Outline your paper: sections, figures and tables. Easy and hard sections. The importance of title and abstract. Data presentation. Tables and figures. Citing and referencing. Acknowledgements. Appendices and auxiliary materials.
Day 3 – morning. Scientific style. Economy of expression and energetic writing. Nested arcs: the continuous flowing message. Linking sentences within a paragraph, and linking paragraphs within a section.
Day 3 – afternoon. Targeting your audience. Opening: setting the problem and getting the reader’s attention. Promise only what you will deliver. From the state of the art to the relevant questions. Challenge: hypothesis and objectives.
Day 4 – morning. Logical consistency. Building your article: from sentences to paragraphs to sections. Closing the circle. Clarity and precision are not incompatible with creativeness.
Day 4 – afternoon. Action: data, methods and results. Analysis: introspection, melting, and crystallization. Resolution: close the circle; recapitulating and open questions.

From the first draft to the final manuscript. Let it rest before proofreading. Submitting your paper. Review and editorial process.

Number of hours: 

12T + 13P + 15H



Course dates: 

Monday, September 7, 2015 to Thursday, September 10, 2015


9:00-12:30 h 14:00-17:30 h


Institut de Ciències del Mar

Maximum number of places: 


Special requirements: 

Intermediate English knowledge.

Contact for further information: 

For additional information, please contact the program coordinator at


Full price of this course is 410€. A reduced registration fee of 340€ is applied for early registrations (20 days before the opening of the course).
Price: 410.00€

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