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Five common writing mistakes new scientists make

The Contemplative Mammoth

As a professor, journal editor, reviewer, and mentor, I review a lot of writing. I come from a long tradition of mentors who focused on writing — during my PhD, I often heard stories of my grand advisor returning his students’ work covered in red line edits, and then I experienced the same when I turned in my first drafts. My own students now know that this is something they can expect from me: close reading and detailed feedback. It’s how I grew as a writer, myself! I still remember comments from individual reviewers about bad habits in my manuscripts (thanks, Reviewer #3!), and I hear myself passing on my advisor’s comments (in his voice, even!) as I edit my students’ work.

As I’ve found myself doing more and more editing lately, I’ve started noticing patterns — common issues that tend to disproportionately show up in student and early career…

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