Style guides – how they can help your scientific writing

Style guides: great tools for writers and editors What are style guides? Style guides contain standards of style and formatting for various fields (e.g., biology, chemistry, medicine, humanities, engineering). What are style guides good for? Editors must make decisions based on context and their knowledge of the subtleties of language. Style guides can inform those decisions by answering questions about formatting and usage conventions. Examples of such questions include: Should a number be spelled out or written as a numeral? When are units spelled out vs. abbreviated? For example, it is correct to write “Three milligrams of…” or “After mixing, 3 mg of…” but not “Three mg of…” (abbreviated units should not be combined with spelled-out numbers) or “3 mg of…” (numerals are not used at the beginning of a sentence). How are multiple units presented? For example, “100 mg/kg/d” is incorrect (multiple slashes should not be used). This expression could be written “100 mg kg·d–1” or “100 mg/(kg·d)”. When are geographic terms capitalized? For example, Laohun Mountain not Laohun mountain, The Nakdong River, but the Nakdong and Seomjin rivers (the rule here is that geographic terms are capitalized when they follow a name but not when they are used in the general, plural sense). What symbols and variables should be italicized, and which should be roman (non-italic) (e.g., P < 0.05, n = 8, ex2 – 1)? Is the correct abbreviation for “second” written “sec” or “s,” and is “year” abbreviated “yr” or “y” in SI notation? SI style ...
Anne AltorStyle guides – how they can help your scientific writing