During the COVID-19 epidemic, experienced editors from The Company of Biologists put forward some suggestions for academic writing to support researchers working from home.
- How to write a good review article
- Writing skills of experienced editors
What is an excellent review article?
- Summarize the main research results
- Highlight “must read” articles in the field
- Can be used as a teaching material
An excellent review article must also:
- Provide research reviews
- Highlight areas of agreement, dispute and debate
- Point out knowledge gaps and unanswered questions
- Emphasize current technologies that can help the field
- Propose future research directions
When reading review articles, experts and non-experts have different reasons, and a good review article will benefit both parties. It will also provide a balanced summary and commentary, while being authoritative, forward-looking and enlightening.
How to start?
Step 1 Select the topic of the article and decide the general content:
- Be clear about the topics you want to follow
- Check whether a review on the topic has been published
- Check if there are enough newly published papers for reference
- Clarify the main purpose of the review
Step 2 List the outline before writing, think about:
- Subtitles and paragraphs that can be used
- Keywords and technical terms that need to be introduced and defined
- Visual image effects that may be helpful
Step 3 Start writing!
Before writing the main body of the article, start with the title, abstract, and introduction. These are the first parts that readers will see. Keep it short and complementary. Each one should have more details to attract readers.
The following writing suggestions come from experienced Development editors:
Make a plan: Before paying attention to details, make sure you have a clear idea of the overall structure of the article.
Get feedback: Send the article to trusted colleagues and ask for feedback.
Examine the overall structure of the article: Is it reasonable? Is the thinking smooth?
State the purpose of writing: explain the reasons for choosing this topic, and state the conclusion in conjunction with relevant arguments.
Consider visual effects: Good pictures help explain information more clearly.
Divide the article into subsections: Divide the article into several sections to help readers easily find the information they want.
You are the expert: readers will know much less about this topic than you. Before diving into the details, give a clear overview of the topic. Just imagine what information your article will provide for a PhD student who has never worked in this particular field.