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How to Write a Scientific Paper*

时间:2010-12-15 12:51:09  来源:  作者:

How to Write a Scientific Paper*
By George M. Whitesides
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University,
Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

科学论文写作*
原著:George M. Whitesides (美国)
译者:张希,林志宏

What is a scientific paper? A paper is an organized description of hypotheses, data and conclusions, intended to instruct the reader. Papers are a central part of research. If your research does not generate papers, it might just as well not have been done. “Interesting and unpublished” is equivalent to “non-existent.”
什么是科技论文?科技论文是集假说、数据和结论为一体的概括性描述,以此向读者论述。论文是研究工作的中心部分。如果你的研究没有写成论文,也就等同于没有做研究。有意义但没有发表,等同于不存在。
Realize that your objective in research is to formulate and test hypotheses, to draw conclusions from these tests, and to teach these conclusions to others. Your objective is not to “collect data.”
要意识到研究的目的是为了形成并证实假说,从一些测试中得出结论,并把结论传授给别人。你的研究目的不是简单的收集数据。
A paper is not just an archival device for storing a completed research program, it is also a structure for planning your research in progress. If you clearly understand the purpose and form of a paper, it can be immensely useful to you in organizing and conducting your research. A good outline for the paper is also a good plan for the research program. You should write and rewrite these plans/outlines throughout the course of the research. At the beginning, you will have mostly plan; at the end, mostly outline. The continuous effort to understand, analyze, summarize, and reformulate hypotheses on paper will be immensely more efficient for you than a process in which you collect data and only start to organize them when their collection is“complete.”
一篇论文并不仅仅是收集已经得到的研究结果,它也有助于形成进一步的研究工作的框架。如果明确了论文的目的,这对于计划开展你的研究工作有很大益处。好的文章提要也是研究工作的好计划,在研究的过程中,应该反复修改这些计划或提要。研究工作开始时,应有完善的计划;工作结束时,应充分的总结。最有效率的做法是及时的理解, 分析, 总结, 形成假说; 而不是等到完成时才开始收集和整理数据。
The reason for outlines. I emphasize the central place of an outline in writing papers, preparing seminars, and planning research. I especially believe that for you, and for me, it is most efficient to write papers from outlines. An outline is a written plan of the organization of a paper, including the data on which it rests. You should, in fact, think of an outline as a carefully organized and presented set of data, with attendant objectives, hypotheses and conclusions, rather than an outline of text.
为什么要写提纲?我在这里要强调提纲在论文写作,准备报告以及研究计划中的重要作用。我尤其相信按照提纲进行写作对我们大家都是最有效的方法。提纲是一篇论文的行文计划,应该包括论文所依靠的数据。事实上,提纲不仅仅是列出各段的内容, 而是按照目的, 假说, 结论来精心组织数据。
An outline itself contains little text. If you and I can agree on the details of the outline (that is, on the data and organization), the supporting text can be assembled fairly easily. If we do not agree on the outline, any text is useless. Much of the time in writing a paper goes into the text; most of the thought goes into the organization of the data and into the analysis. It can be relatively efficient to go through several (even many) cycles of an outline before beginning to write text; writing many versions of the full text of a paper is slow.
提纲本身应该文字简练。如果大家都同意提纲中的细节部分,那么正文组织起来就更容易。在我们就提纲达成一致以前,写正文是没有意义的。 写文章时,大部份时间花在写正文上;而大部份思考是用在整理和分析数据。在动笔前,详细讨论几遍写作提纲会提高写作效率;写很多遍正文反倒很慢。
All the writing that I do - papers, reports, proposals (and, of course, slides for seminars)- I do from outlines. I urge you to learn how to use them as well.
我写的所有文章,包括论文,报告, 建议(当然还有讨论会的胶片)都从提纲开始。我也希望你们能学会使用它。
How should you construct an outline? The classical approach is to start with a blank piece of paper, and write down, in any order, all important ideas that occur to you concerning the paper. Ask yourself the obvious questions:“Why did I do this work?” “What does it mean?”“What hypothesis did I mean to test?”“What ones did I actually test?”“What were the results?”“Did the work yield a new method or compound? What?”“What measurements did I make?”“What compounds? How were they characterized?” Sketch possible equations, figures, and schemes. It is essential to try to get the major ideas written down. If you start the research to test one hypothesis, and decide, when you see what you have, that the data really seem to test some other hypothesis better, don't worry. Write them both down, and pick the best combinations of hypotheses, objectives and data. Often the objectives of a paper when it is finished are different from those used to justify starting the work. Much of good science is opportunistic and revisionist.

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