Energy Systems Research

Saramaki How to write a scientific paper

How to write a scientific paper
Jari Saramäki



How to Write a Scientific Paper gives high-level advice for tackling the scientific journal article. It favors wisdom over step-by-step instruction; it gives foundational knowledge in an encouraging voice that eases the burdens of starting.


How to Write a Scientific Paper takes a top-down approach to writing journal articles. It starts broad—choose your key results, write the abstract, craft a title—and proceeds into narrower details.

Broad and narrow alike are joined by two common threads. Stories consists of setup, confrontation, resolution, and epilogue. This framework applies to both large and small elements of the journal article; outlines and paragraphs, abstracts and results follow this same basic storytelling structure. It makes creative decisions feel manageable. Second, Saramäki radiates a candid empathy for writing’s many hurdles. The book provides gentle wisdom for tackling these numerous barriers.

How to Write a Scientific Paper focuses on the high points of how to write a journal article. It shows what a journal paper is, how it works, and how to get started writing one. You might finish this read craving some finer details like examples or step-by-step instruction. The book often omits such information. Yet, it reads quickly, boosts self-confidence, and points you in the right direction.


I expect that Saramäki is an excellent supervisor. Many barriers keep science students from writing—inadequate formal training, ill-equipped supervisors, limited time. Saramäki empathizes. He tackles the stressful learning curve with tactics that make the reader feel understood. You can do it. It’s going to be okay. If your own advisor fails in this cheerleading, read this book—if only for encouragement’s sake.

Of course, the book also contains instruction. It describes the academic journal paper quite clearly, though it often omits step-by-step guidance; I finished many chapters feeling better informed but not quite equipped to act. The book focuses, rather, on clarity, structure, and story. God knows we science writers could use more of that. Saramäki also throws in tips on organization, writing style, and working habits. It’s an encouraging read that eases our science-writing anxieties. But consider pairing it with a more detailed supplement.


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