Curriculum Scientific Writing - Scientific Publishing


The education in the sciences at German universities generally provides students with an excellent knowledge in their respective fields and a good overview of closely related disciplines. However, one important aspect of the scientific process is missing from academic curricula altogether: the generation and publication of scientific texts.

wtb has developed a modularized course that offers a broad introduction into all aspects of scientific writing and scientific publishing in the life sciences with the aim to prepare students and scientists early in their careers to understand, criticize, and efficiently generate scientific texts. The approach is a practical one and based on our extensive experience in the instruction and training of junior scientists. Participants will acquire the necessary knowledge about the scientific publication process and the tools to write effective scientific texts themselves.

While some of the modules are more oriented towards the transfer of knowledge, others are designed to maximize participant involvement. The various modules can be individually combined to create a course that fits your needs. Students are expected to contribute their own texts, which are then analyzed, criticized, and improved. Part of the course is also dedicated to the use of English in scientific writing and the recognition and eradication of commonly made mistakes. These modules include exercises to be conducted and discussed by the course participants.

The lingua franca of today’s Life Sciences is English and students come from diverse language backgrounds, therefore, all course work and lessons are in English. However, students with only basic proficiency in English can be accommodated and an introduction to Scientific English is part of the program.

If you are interested in offering a course based on our curriculum to your students, or if you would like to discuss aspects of scientific writing training. please contact us.


Course contents:

- The theory of scientific texts

 Types of scientific texts: research paper, grant application, review, poster, book chapter, report, stipend application, press release, popular scientific texts. Characteristics/differences.

Audience, information, objective.

 - The structure of scientific texts

Levels of complexity, levels of abstraction.

What is a scientific theory? What is a hypothesis, a result, an experiment, a method? How are they represented in a scientific text?

Use of citations, Literature databases.

 - Starting out

 Beating the fear of the blank page (tips to get going).

Bringing order to chaos: organizing your manuscript.

Developing a storyline.

 - How to write…

 … an abstract/paper, how to write a grant application, how to write a press release,

Specific elements of various text types.

            w. exercises                      

- Use of English in scientific papers

Grammar and verb tenses. Common mistakes in style and usage.

              w. exercises

- Observation, description, measurement, quantitation

 Evidence, data, documentation, statistics.

 - Result, discussion, conclusion

 Developing a scientific argument.

w. exercises

- Editing of own and others' work

 Never write alone! Tips and tricks for improving your text.

w. exercises

 - Scientific illustration

Figure composition, story line, results and data in figures, vector graphics vs. bitmap graphics, scientific photography, figure legends.

w. exercises

- The peer review process

Dealing with fair and unfair criticism, criticizing.

Reading and writing referee reports.

w. exercises

- Scientific quality control

              Where to publish, scientific rankings, “visibility”, citation factors,

             impact factor and others. Trust and scientific integrity/scientific misconduct in

             publishing, Authorship, Priority.