Algorithm for writing a scientific manuscript

Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2009 Nov;37(6):344-8. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20329.


We present an algorithm for the construction of a strong initial draft. It is designed to overcome writer's block and to assist scientists who are not native English speakers. The writing starts with making figures and tables. These suggest several terse summary statements, the few major conclusions or observations the author will present to the scientific community. After identification of the audience, the specific community addressed, materials and methods are written to explain how the tables and figures were generated. Results are initially restricted to describing the logical data relations in each table and figure. The discussion then converts each data relationship into mechanistic cause-and-effect interpretations suitable for the abstract. A brief epilogue deals with the submission and the fate of the final manuscript once submitted. Although other models for the initial draft exist, this model has worked for us and new researchers in our laboratories and addresses problems we encountered while editing manuscripts.