Now and then I come across a blog article that makes me realise: how come I haven’t seen this before? In this case, it is Corey Bradshaw’s article, taken from his website Conversationbytes.com, on how to write a scientific paper. The blog is dated October 2012! Quite old but still very relevant. His colleague Barry Brook came off with his own approach to how to write a scientific paper and Corey calls this ‘La Méthode Brookoise’. He noticed as well that there is hardly any knowledge on the writing process and how to tackle this. La Methode Brookoise is an effective guide to setting up a scientific paper in 11 steps. It was originally intended for ecologists, but it should do the job in any other scientific discipline.
I would like to pay attention to a specific part of this Méthode that, in my experience, is of incredible value for the whole writing process.
Ask for feedback in an early stage
Brook suggests you ask for feedback straight away after writing down your main message, your abstract and the proposed title. Send it to your supervisors and your co-authors. After their feedback revise them and send it again. Basically, after everyone is satisfied with everything you will keep doing this.
Ask for feedback again
Think of the main results you want to write about, create the figures and tables and ask for feedback again. Feedback from your supervisors or co-authors. After this feedback revise them and send it again. Basically, after everyone is satisfied with everything you will keep doing this.
Then ask for feedback again
Create the paper’s skeleton. Ask feedback on this skeleton. And again: keep revising till everybody is happy.
Then start writing the paragraphs
It doesn’t matter in what order you will write the text because you have thought about the content of each paragraph beforehand.
Ask for feedback on your first version
Brooks suggest then, you have guessed it right, to ask for feedback on your first version.
Do any bells start to ring?
Don’t carry out your writing on your own. Include your supervisors or co-authors during the entire writing process. Ask for feedback. This will make the writing process so much easier and pleasant for everyone involved. And you will end up with a much better paper!