Formal Scholarly Prose and Successful Publication | Tips on How to Get Your Research Published
There are in the twenty-first century a wide variety of informal ways in which to disseminate text, even the kinds of academic and scientific text that were once the sole preserve of scholarly journals and presses. Sharing research via Facebook, a social platform of a more professional persuasion or a personal blog or website may encourage a certain informality of language and expression. Such informality, if used with moderation and discretion, may even render advanced research accessible and appealing to a wider audience than strict formality might do. However, it is essential to remember that an authoritative voice is a valuable academic commodity, and formal scholarly prose remains an extremely effective means of establishing such a voice. When it comes to publication, formal scholarly prose is still expected by academic and scientific publishers, and neglecting this requirement will result in rejection or, in the best of scenarios, revisions to resolve the problem.
Among the most common of informal elements that tend to slip, often undetected, into otherwise scholarly prose are contractions. While blogging about his or her latest research an author may well use contractions such as ‘I’ll,’ ‘we’re’ and the like to create a more casual environment and appear friendly and approachable to readers. In such a context, these contractions may well prove effective without compromising the information shared. When it comes to formal essays and assignments for university courses as well as dissertations and theses for higher degrees, on the other hand, contractions of any kind are usually not tolerated unless they are included in quotations or directly discussed as part of a scholarly argument. The same principle applies when submitting a document for publication, so it is wise to proofread academic and scientific writing very carefully with an eye alert to eliminating all instances of such contractions before sending that work along to an acquisitions editor.
One of the charges frequently laid against formal scholarly prose is that it sounds pretentious, but well-written scholarly prose is precise, not pretentious. For example, an author might find it useful or necessary to include a large assortment of specialised terminology, discipline-specific jargon and unique abbreviations in an article. If that author tosses these elements into his or her prose with careless abandon and without explaining them, the writing may well come across as pretentious, and the overall impression might be that the author does not fully understand the language he or she is using. Yes, such writing may make those who understand the meaning of that obscure language feel as though they are ‘in the know,’ but it is likely that they are already aware of that, and such a policy will only alienate, confuse and lose other readers. Keeping the use of such terms and abbreviations to the minimum required and explaining or defining each one that is used will, on the other hand, come across as clear, informed and professional, and all your readers, including acquisitions proofreaders and peer reviewers, will appreciate your precision.
Other elements of a formal scholarly voice are more subtle and difficult to define, but a great deal can be learned by reading widely among the publications in your discipline and subject area. The standards and conventions appropriate for your field will arise repeatedly and serve as excellent models of presentation, vocabulary and phrasing. If you are lucky, a few of the scholarly voices you encounter may even inspire you with writing that is as interesting and effective as the research it describes. Writers of this kind will provide heights of authorial achievement to which you can aspire when you prepare your own research for publication.
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Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.
If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.