By Claire Hodge and Emma Buckland
Science publications need to be read, shared, discussed, and critiqued – in order for the progression of the hypothesis, experiment and findings presented.
Publishing science in English allows researchers from all over the world to access the research publications, to communicate with each other and discover new findings in their respective fields. It facilitates researchers in reaching the broadest possible audience for their work, helping to connect researchers, funders and policy holders from all over the world, to drive research impact.
English is a notoriously tricky language to master. There are confusing spellings that have little to do with their pronunciation (“trough”, “rough” and “bough” are spelt similarly but pronounced “troff”, “ruff”and “bow”). There are tricky homophones – words that sound the same but have different meanings or spellings, and silent letters (such as the silent “g”, in “gnome”). Even the most subtle change in the order of words can drastically change the emphasis of a sentence.
English may be a difficult language to learn but there are a lot of things you can do to develop your writing skills and improve your written English.
Many institutions have their own writing courses and resources, often aimed for undergraduates, postgraduates and postdoctoral levels.
There are also numerous free resources online such as the Springer ‘Writing in English’ Author and reviewer tutorial and the Purdue Online Writing Lab. There are also free online tools such as Grammarly, which corrects common grammar and spelling mistakes.
It’s also often helpful if you can ask a colleague whose native language is English to review your manuscript before submitting it for publication.
There are also professional services that aim to take the burden of writing polished English away from busy researchers. Professional and experienced editors will, for a fee, edit academic work (from abstracts and papers to grants and books), ensuring the English is well written.
Springer Nature has developed Nature Research Editing Service and also partners with American Journal Experts (AJE) to deliver high-quality professional editing services to researchers. These services aim to serve the interests of the author and are entirely independent from the editorial publication workflow (see here for more on our editing services ethical policies).
Springer Nature authors are entitled to 10% off their first purchase from either of these services. To claim 10% off English editing from Nature Research Editing Service, click here. To claim 10% off English Editing from AJE, click here.
Download our ‘Writing in English’ cheat sheet for quick writing tips.
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