Bird group writing advice

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This page is designed to provide links to information on writing scientific papers that might be helpful to students in the bird group. Of course, others are welcome to use the site if it is helpful.

Please note that none of these materials are things that we have generated. Any credit should go to the fine people who have made their materials widely available.

Any comments/questions should be directed to Chris Elphick.

Basic advice on writing well

If you've not read Strunk and White, you should. If you have, read it again. It's on-line here.

A plea for scholarly writing by Harold Heatwole

A (well justified IMHO) rant against the passive-voice by Randy Moore is here.

Information on where to publish

A guide for conservation research by Peter Kareiva and Chris Yuan-Farrell

Writing scientific papers

A nice editorial on how to organize a paper, by Frank Thompson, is available here. Some of this is specific to the Journal of Wildlife Management, but most of it applies to most journals.

This paper on dissemination biases (Barto and Rillig 2011) includes results that might make you think twice about which papers you should cite.

Presenting statistics in published work

An editorial from the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Responding to reviewers

Even if your paper is accepted you will almost certainly have to revise it and provide a detailed response in which you address the reviewers concerns.

This is one approach.

I'll try to find an alternative perspective .... but in the meantime, my advice is to give detailed point-by-point responses to EVERY comment made by a reviewer (even if seemingly trivial). Do this in the order the comments were made and make it easy for the editor to see how you responded.

Writing reviews of other people's papers

Another good editorial from the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Some perspective on getting a paper rejected

Phillip Cassey and Tim Blackburn have done some research on patterns of rejection among successful ecologists. Their papers are available here and here. You'll still feel lousy for a little while, but knowing that you're not alone might help a bit.

Reviewing papers for others

Sooner or later you'll end up on the reviewer end of the equation, but it's rare for anyone to ever tell you how to do it. Here is one set of suggestions.