Writing Style Suggestions
Although BioResources welcomes a variety of writing styles, including various regional differences in spelling, we use a set of style preferences to ensure uniformity in the journal. When in doubt, we encourage authors to employ the following guidelines:
- Generally avoid the use of personal pronouns. Use passive voice to describe actions done by the authors (g., “The tests were completed,” “The central hypothesis of this work was tested in a level 5 cleanroom.”). This is to emphasize and encourage the objectivity of the scientific work to be published in the journal.
- Generally use past tense when describing experimental methods and results (g., “All absorbance spectra were collected on a Model XXX HP diode array spectrophotomer.”). The reason for this is that we want the reader to be able to know very clearly what parts of the article represent work by the authors.
- Favor the use of present tense in the “Introduction” and in discussions that describe the state of the art of scientific knowledge in a given field. For example, if there is a consensus among researchers, the following conjectural statement is possible: “Cellulose solubility in water is higher after treatment with compound X than with compound Y (Smith 1997; Chu et al. 1999).” You can make an exception if something clearly was done in the past, g.,”Jones and El-Akhbar (1992) earlier reported contradictory findings.”
- New authors frequently pay inadequate attention to discussing their results. In particular, it is usually a good idea to compare and contrast your new results relative to past theoretical and empirical work by others. Depending on author preference, authors submitting to BioResources may either combine “Results and Discussion” or use separate “Results” and “Discussion” sections. In either case, the greatest value of scientific publications involves efforts to analyze, interpret, or prove your results relative to one or more hypotheses.
- When writing your Experimental section, the main criterion to follow is that other researchers in the future should be able to repeat your work. It is perfectly satisfactory to just cite published procedures that you followed. However, you will need to carefully explain any procedures that were unique to your own study. In some cases, it may make sense to be more comprehensive in this section, depending on the novelty of the work or other considerations. The manufacturer name and location should be provided for all specialized reagents, equipment, and software mentioned in this section. All standards and methods used should be cited.
- When writing the Introduction, new authors should focus on providing sufficient context, based on the literature, so that readers somewhat unfamiliar with the field will be able to judge the relative importance of their new findings. Key articles, upon which the current work depends, should be emphasized. In a research article (as opposed to a review article), it is not necessary to include extensive explanations of concepts or facts that already are explained in other publications.
- New authors are encouraged to write their Abstract after they have completed the rest of the writing. A good starting strategy is to use one or two sentences, each, to summarize the main thrust of each of the major sections of the article, g., Introduction, Experimental, Results, and Conclusions. Aim for the target word count, not the maximum permitted word count (see template for BioResources articles of different types).
- Knowing that the title of your article will be the part that is read by the greatest number of people, it is a good idea to go back and scrutinize it again, after the rest of your writing it mostly done. Can the words be misinterpreted? Is the title readily understood by your intended audience? Does it capture people’s attention? Does it adequately describe your topic? Authors are discouraged from using words such as “new” and “novel” in the title.
- Choose key words that adequately and succinctly represent the crux of your research article. Do they fairly cover the overall concepts, strategies, and methods used in the work? These words are very important, as they are among various pointers that are used to direct attention to your article.
- Finally, choose your figures and tables carefully to make the most impact to our readers. Can you put in a graph or plot what you would have put in a table (or vice versa) that facilitates comprehension of the research? Can you overlay spectra instead of having separate spectra? Are the figures easily read, or do our readers need a magnifying glass to see the data?
- Authors are requested to use a consistent system of journal name abbreviations in the References Cited section. It is acceptable to use full journal names, if this is done throughout the list. If it is decided to use abbreviations of journal names (which is preferred by many authors), please take your guidance from the following list (in PDF form) provided by the CASSI database system: Abbreviations of Selected Journals . For journals not on the list, please use an abbreviated form that is consistent with how the CASSI editors have abbreviated other journals.
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