Avoid Boring Writing: Tips (to Avoid) from Scientific Articles

Most scientific papers consist of “predictable, stilted structure and language”, leading to consistently boring journal articles. Kaj Sand-Jensen, writing in the ecology journal Oikos, decided to investigate this problem and concluded his research by providing a set of recommendations for how to write consistently boring scientific articles (pdf):

  • Avoid focus
  • Avoid originality and personality
  • Write l o n g contributions
  • Remove most implications and every speculation
  • Leave out illustrations, particularly good ones
  • Omit necessary steps of reasoning
  • Use many abbreviations and technical terms
  • Suppress humor and flowery language
  • Degrade species and biology to statistical elements
  • Quote numerous papers for self-evident statements

Even though this was originally published in an ecology journal, you can’t fail to see how these recommendations apply to almost every other piece of written work.

via @Falijn