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Writing Guides, Style Manuals and the Publication Process in the Biological and Health Sciences
Table of Contents:

Writing Guides
  • Books
  • Internet Resources
    • Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
      This popular book is an indispensable and entertaining guide for writers, proofreaders, editors, managers, clerical staff, teachers, and students. Use this site to find the answers to your questions concerning proper English grammar and punctuation.
    • Deadwood Phrases
      Phrases that Kill Good Writing
    • Elements of Style Online
      The electronic version of the classic work by William Strunk, Jr. that includes rules of grammar and usage, principles of composition, and commonly misused and misspelled words.
    • Guide to Grammar & Writing
      An online textbook on basic writing sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation. Developed by Dr. Charles Darling.
    • Harvard Guide to Using Sources
      From the Expository Writing Program. Covers integrating sources into a paper; misuse of sources and when/when not to cite.
    • Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
      Authors: Leslie C. Perelman, Edward Barrett, and James Paradis ; ESL Consultant: Erika Mitchell

      The Web-based version of The Mayfield Handbook of Scientific and Technical Writing is the result of more than ten years of collaborative development at MIT. The Handbook is the first hypertextual reference work designed specifically for technical and scientific writing. MIT authors Leslie Perelman, James Paradis, and Edward Barrett offer information and advice on grammar and usage, strategies for planning and producing documents, and common document formats and citation styles.

    • Nature Masterclasses: Training in Scientific Writing and Publishing
      Online courses, workshops and webinars delivered by Nature Research journal editors.

      The online classes are fee-based, but there is a selection of freely available resources that are accessible by registering for a free class account.

      Topics covered include: What Makes a Great Paper? ; Elements of Writing Style ; Data Management and Understanding Peer Review

    • Online Grammar Handbook
      "21 chapters of web links to writing, grammar, punctuation & research inclucing links to arguments, literature & sample student papers of many types."
    • Publish, Not Perish: the Art & Craft of Publishing In Scholarly Journals
      This tutorial was created through a collaborative effort of the libraries of the University of Colorado. It focuses on publishing in scholarly journals. In this course you will learn to:
      • Describe the role of scholarly publishing in an academic career
      • List the essential steps of planning and writing a scholarly paper.
      • Develop a personal publication plan
      • Compare and contrast the different publishing models currently in use
      • Describe the types of articles you can write
      • List the pros and cons of collaborative authoring
      • Describe the tools and resources a scholarly writer needs to have on hand
    • Publishing Your Research 101
      The Publishing Your Research 101 video series helps authors and reviewers understand how to get a manuscript accepted, respond to reviewer comments, navigate ethical considerations, and improve their manuscript submission process experience.

      Based on American Chemical Society (ACS)on Campus' interactive sessions, the video series includes interviews with prominent authors and editors of ACS journals who provide insights and answers from their own perspectives, and the perspectives of their journals.

      • Episode 1 - How to Write a Paper to Communicate Your Research
      • Episode 2 - Writing Your Cover Letter
      • Episode 3 - Selecting Peers to Suggest as Reviewers
      • Episode 4 - Submitting Your Manuscript Using the ACS Paragon Plus Environment
      • Episode 5 - Ethical Considerations for Authors and Reviewers
      • Episode 6 - The Review Process for Authors and Reviewers
      • Episode 7 - Open Access and ACS AuthorChoice
      • Episode 8 - Tips for English as a Second Language Speakers
      • Episode 9 - The Basics of Copyright and Fair Use
      • Episode 10: My Manuscript Has Been Accepted! Now What?
    • Writing Guides
      From Colorado State University. Covers the writing process, types of documents, researching sources and using sources.
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Checklists and Other Tools
  • Equator Network :Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research
    The EQUATOR Network is an international initiative that seeks to enhance reliability of medical research literature by promoting transparent and accurate reporting of research studies.

    The Library for health research reporting provides an up-to-date collection of guidelines and policy documents related to health research reporting. These are aimed mainly at authors of research articles, journal editors, peer reviewers and reporting guideline developers. Also included are guidelines under development.

  • CONSORT: Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials
    The main product of CONSORT is the CONSORT Statement, which is an evidence-based, minimum set of recommendations for reporting randomized trials. It offers a standard way for authors to prepare reports of trial findings, facilitating their complete and transparent reporting, and aiding their critical appraisal and interpretation.

    The CONSORT Statement comprises a 25-item checklist and a flow diagram. The checklist items focus on reporting how the trial was designed, analyzed, and interpreted; the flow diagram displays the progress of all participants through the trial. The CONSORT "Explanation and Elaboration" document explains and illustrates the principles underlying the CONSORT Statement. We strongly recommend that it is used in conjunction with the CONSORT Statement. In addition, extensions of the CONSORT Statement have been developed to give additional guidance for RCTs with specific designs, data and interventions.

    • SQUIRE: Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence
      SQUIRE stands for Standards for QUality Improvement Reporting Excellence. The SQUIRE guidelines provide a framework for reporting new knowledge about how to improve healthcare. They are intended for reports that describe system level work to improve the quality, safety, and value of healthcare.
    • STROBE
      "STROBE stands for an international, collaborative initiative of epidemiologists, methodologists, statisticians, researchers and editors involved in the conduct and dissemination of observational studies, with the common aim of STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology."
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Style Manuals - Health Sciences
  • ACS Style (American Chemical Society)
    • Internet Resources
  • AMA Style (American Medical Association)
    • Books
      • AMA manual of style: a guide for authors and editors
        Sect. 1. Preparing an article for publication. Types of articles -- Manuscript preparation -- References -- Visual presentation of data -- Ethical and legal considerations -- Editorial assessment and processing -- Sect. 2. Grammar -- Punctuation -- Plurals -- Capitalization -- Correct and preferred usage -- Non-english words, phrases, and accent marks -- Medical indexes -- Sect. 3. Terminology. Abbreviations -- Nomenclature -- Eponyms -- Greek letters --Sect. 4. Measurement and Quantitation. Units of measure -- Numbers and percentages -- Study design and statistics -- Mathematical composition -- Sect. 5. Technical information. Typography -- Manuscript editing and proofreading -- Glossary of publishing terms -- Resources. Rev. ed. of: American Medical Association manual of style. 9th ed. c1998.
        • Location(s): TC Bio-Medical Library Reference WZ345 A511 2007
    • Internet Resources
  • APA Style (American Psychological Association)
    • Books
      • Concise rules of APA style
        1. Concise and bias-free writing -- 2. Punctuation, spelling, and capitalization -- 3. Italicizing and abbreviating -- 4. Numbers, metrication, and statistics -- 5. Tables -- 6. Figures -- 7. Footnotes and appendixes -- 8. Quotations, reference citations in text, and reference list -- 9. Reference examples.
        • Location(s): Bio-Medical Library Reference WZ345 C743 2010; Magrath Library Reference BF76.7 .C66 2010
        Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
      • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
        The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition) is the style manual of choice for writers, editors, students, educators, and professionals in psychology, sociology, business, economics, nursing, social work, and justice administration.
        • Location(s):
      • Writing with style: APA style made easy
        Introduction: the laypeople and you -- Some generalizations about how psychologists write -- Preparing the introduction section and the literature review paper -- Preparing the method section -- Preparing the results section -- Preparing the discussion section -- Preparing the abstract -- Preparing the references section -- Preparing a title page and formatting your manuscript -- Grooming tips for psychology papers -- Preparing a presentation -- Wrapping it up.
        • Location(s): TC Bio-Medical Library BF76.8 S998w 2008
        Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
    • Internet Resources
      • The Basics of APA Style
        From the American Psychological Association.

        This tutorial is designed for those who have no previous knowledge of APA Style®. It shows users how to structure and format their work, recommends ways to reduce bias in language, identifies how to avoid charges of plagiarism, shows how to cite references in text, and provides selected reference examples.

      • Preparing Manuscripts for Publication in Psychology Journals: A guide for new authors

        This guide provides an overview of the process of preparing and submitting a scholarly manuscript for publication in a psychology journal. Drawing on the experiences of authors of scholarly writings, peer reviewers, and journal editors, we seek to demystify the publication process and to offer advice designed to improve a manuscript's prospects of publication.

  • CSE Style (Council of Science Editors)
    • Books
    • Internet Resources
  • Harvard Style
  • NLM Style (National Library of Medicine)
    • Books
    • Internet Resources
      • Citing Medicine: the NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers.
        Patrias K. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Wendling DL, technical editor. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 - [updated 2011 Sep 15]

        "Citing Medicine gives information on constructing citations at three levels:

        • 1. Diagrammed Citation - Many people need to format a non-complex citation and want to know how to format a citation, without learning why it should be structured that way. The picture of the sample citation and the broad guidelines (what we're calling the Introduction) will be enough for many people in this group.
        • 2. General Rules and Examples - A smaller number of people will need to view the General Rules and Examples sections to get more information. They either will have a specific problem to solve or their work requires them to build a general knowledge of citation that they can later apply to specific cases. For this group we lay out why citations are structured the way they are and show them what types of citations exist (Examples) and what special, difficult cases they may encounter (Specific Rules).
        • 3. Specific Rules - A yet smaller number of people will need to enter the Specific Rules section to solve a specific problem, such as handling non-English citations.
  • Vancouver Style (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors)
    • Books
    • Internet Resources
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Data Citation Guides
  • Data Citation
    Informational page from USGS on the importance of citing data with recommended best practices.
  • Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles - FINAL
    Data Citation Synthesis Group: Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles. Martone M. (ed.) San Diego CA: FORCE11; 2014

    A set of guiding principles for data within scholarly literature, another dataset, or any other research object.

    The Data Citation Principles cover purpose, function and attributes of citations. These principles recognize the dual necessity of creating citation practices that are both human understandable and machine-actionable.

    • Examples
      Examples of how to cite data and data sets.
  • What to do if you suspect fabricated data
    Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

    Flowcharts are designed to help editors follow COPE’s Code of Conduct and implement its advice when faced with cases of suspected misconduct.

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Other Citation Guides & Styles
  • Citing OMIM
    How to cite Onine Mendelian Inheritance in Man references.
  • Chicago Manual of Style Online Authentication Required
    The standard work and most comprehensive of the style manuals. All chapters are written for the electronic age, with advice on how to prepare and edit manuscripts online, handle copyright and permissions issues raised by new technologies, use the latest methods of preparing mathematical copy, and cite electronic and online sources. The Libraries have access to 16th and 17th editions.
  • DocsCite
    DocsCite is a step-by-step guide to putting government publication citations into proper APA or MLA style format. From the Arizona State University Libraries.
  • ISO 690:2010 Information and documentation -- Bibliographic references - Content, form and structure
    International Standard that specifies the elements to be included in bibliographic references to published monographs and serials, to chapters, articles, etc. in such publications and to patent documents. ISO 690-2 covers electronic resources.
    • ISO 690:2010
      Guidelines for bibliographic references and citations to information resources
  • National Center for Health Statistics
  • Technical Writing (Reports)
    • Technical Report Writing
      NASA Technical Memorandum 105419. Carol A. Vidoli, Lewis Research Center.

      Note: The pdf did not load within the browser, however if you then download with Abode Reader, it does appear.

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Instructions for Authors
  • Instructions to Authors in the Health Sciences.
    These pages provide links to Web sites which provide instructions to authors for over 3,500 journals in the health and life sciences. All links are to "primary sources" - that is, to publishers and organizations with editorial responsibilities for the titles. Maintained by the Raymon H. Mulford Library, Medical College of Ohio.
    Publisher copyright policies and self-archiving.

    This site can be used to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement. Searchable by journal title or publisher name. Can also be browsed by RoMEO colors, which differentiate between different archiving policies.

    • green: can archive pre-print and post-print
    • blue: can archive post-print
    • yellow: can archive pre-print
    • white: archiving not formally supported
    • Openness In Research Policy
      All research conducted at the University by University faculty, staff, students, visiting researchers, and volunteers must conform to Board of Regents Policy: Openness in Research.
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Peer Review
  • How to Peer Review a Manuscript
    Chapter 12 in: Peer Review in Health Sciences

    Moher D, Jadad AR. How to peer review a manuscript (PDF - 51 KB). In Godlee F, Jefferson T, editors. Peer review in health sciences. Second edition. London: BMJ Books, 2003:183-90.

  • Peer Review: An Introduction and Guide
    Peer Review: An Introduction and Guide (by Mark Ware, published by the Publishing Research Consortium, September 2013) offers a readable overview of the processes used in peer review that assesses its strengths and limitations and looks at alternative approaches that are now being developed and trialled. Ware discusses why, although inevitably imperfect, peer review remains a vital element of scholarship and the means by which the quality benchmark that distinguishes scholarly discourse is established. The Guide describes the elements that make up the peer review process, the workflows and tracking systems, the issues around publication ethics, and the developments in post-publication review and altmetrics that may represent the direction peer review will take in the future.
  • Peer Review: The Nuts and Bolts
    Produced with the help of over 40 early career researchers, editors, journalist and grant body representatives, this guide will help early career researchers understand how the peer review process works, some of the limitations of peer review and the role of peer review in society. - See more at:

    Updated 2012

  • Peer Review Quick Guide: Detecting Common Mistakes & Considering Dilemmas in Peer Review
    Quick Guide is intended for self-paced learning for novice researchers participating in a peer review of research proposals and scientific articles submitted for publication. The objectives of this Quick Guide are to:
  • Increase awareness of common mistakes and dilemmas that novice peer reviewers can face while reviewing either research proposals or scientific articles.
  • Offer strategies providing constructive criticism to the authors of these works.
  • Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, U.S.A.

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Instructions for Editors
    • Policy Statements
      Prepared by the WAME Editorial Policy Committee
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NIH Public Access Policy
  • NIH Public Access Policy
    Information on
    • Journals that [automatically]submit to PubMed Central
    • submission policies
    • frequently asked questions
    • policy details
      • PMID : PMCID Converter
        If an article is in PubMed and in PMC, it will have both a PubMed ID (PMID) and a PMC ID. Use this converter to translate one type of ID to the other.
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Open Access Publishing
  • BioMed Central
    BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher of 257 peer-reviewed open access journals. The portfolio of journals spans all areas of biology, biomedicine and medicine.
    • Open Access (The Book)
      by Peter Suber. MIT Press 2012

      Peter Suber tells us what open access is and isn't, how it benefits authors and readers of research, how we pay for it, how it avoids copyright problems, how it has moved from the periphery to the mainstream, and what its future may hold. Distilling a decade of Suber's influential writing and thinking about open access, this is the indispensable book on the subject for researchers, librarians, administrators, funders, publishers, and policy makers.

    • Open Access to Scholarly Articles
      Administrative Policy. Effective Jan 1, 2015.

      1. Establishes the expectation that works created by U of M faculty will be made available for open access and dissemination. 2. Provides a mechanism for authors to request a waiver for a specific work.

  • Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Public Library of Science (PLOS) is a nonprofit publisher, membership, and advocacy organization with a mission to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication.
  • PubMed Central
    PubMed Central (PMC) is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.
    SHERPA is investigating issues in the future of scholarly communication. It is developing open-access institutional repositories in universities to facilitate the rapid and efficient worldwide dissemination of research.
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Journal Information
  • Genamics JournalSeek: Medicine
    Genamics JournalSeek is the largest completely categorized database of freely available journal information available on the internet. Presently contains 60,458 titles. Journal information includes the description (aims and scope), journal abbreviation, journal homepage link, subject category and ISSN.
  • JANE: Journal/Author Name Estimator
    JANE helps authors find journals to submit articles to, similar papers to cite or helps editors locate potential reviewers.

    From the website: Just enter the title and/or abstract of the paper in the box, and click on 'Find journals', 'Find authors' or 'Find Articles'. Jane will then compare your document to millions of documents in Medline to find the best matching journals, authors or articles.

    JANE first searches for the 50 articles that are most similar to your input. For each of these articles, a similarity score between that article and your input is calculated. The similarity scores of all the articles belonging to a certain journal or author are summed to calculate the confidence score for that journal or author. The results are ranked by confidence score. Created by the Biosemantics Group (

  • PubMed Journal Database
    Search by title keyword or part of a word. Provides MEDLINE journal abbreviation, complete journal title, publisher and ISSN. Also has link to webpage containing list of PubMed journals that provide links to full text articles (all full-text, not just free full text)
  • SCImago Journal & Country Rank
    A portal that includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database (Elsevier B.V.). These indicators can be used to assess and analyze scientific domains. This platform takes its name from the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) indicatorpdf, developed by SCImago from the widely known algorithm Google PageRankâ„¢. This indicator shows the visibility of the journals contained in the Scopus® database from 1996.
  • Ulrich's Periodicals Directory Authentication Required
    Lists information for over a quarter-million serial records such as newspapers, popular and trade magazines, and academic and scholarly journals. Includes active, ceased, and forthcoming publications. Search by title, subject and more.
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Dictionaries / Acronyms / Abbreviations
  • Acronym
    Searchable database of more than 317,000 abbreviations and acronyms about computers, technology, telecommunications, and military acronyms and abbreviations
  • Online Biology Dictionary
    Online Biology Dictionary is a free, concise, illustrated dictionary of biology and medicine. is a website focusing on biology and evolutionary theory.

  • Medi-Lexicon
    Over 70,000 medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical & healthcare acronyms and abbreviations.
  • Multilingual glossary of technical and popular medical terms in nine european languages
    -an English dictionary of 1,830 medical terms, frequently used in written drug information - nine glossaries of 1830 scientific and popular medical terms, one in each of the nine official languages of the European Union. - an electronic database of the dictionary and glossaries - a user-friendly software interface as an Internet application, installed at the World-Wide Web server of the University of Gent, Belgium
  • Veterinary abbreviations and acronyms
    This list focuses on abbreviations and acronyms commonly used in veterinary practice and supplements the standard and widely available reference sources such as Gale's Acronyms, Initialisms & Abbreviations Dictionary. It is intended for use by veterinary students, researchers, practitioners, and librarians. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Veterinary Medicine Library
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  • Plagiarism: As Explained By Common Craft

    While Plagiarism can be intentional, it is more often caused by misunderstanding. Avoiding it means understanding the role of intellectual property and what makes plagiarism wrong. This video teaches:

    • Why giving credit to others is necessary
    • A definition of plagiarism
    • Steps to avoiding plagiarism
    • Types of ideas and media that can be plagiarized
  • What is Plagiarism?
    From, a free resource sponsored by iParadigms LLC, makers of Turnitin, WriteCheck, and iThenticate.

    Includes tools, resources, videos, how to cite sources and links to helpful sites

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Copyright Guidelines
  • Copyright Tools
    From the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology
    • Digital Copyright Slider
      An interactive tool to help determine whether or not a work is protected by copyright or not. Set the arrow at the correct date and read the information is the windows
    • Section 108 Spinner
      Use your mouse to turn the wheel chart to the desired section. Helps determine whether or not a particular reproduction is covered by Section 108
  • Creative Commons
    Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that offers flexible copyright licenses for creative works.
  • Copyright Clearance Center
    Here you can get permission to reproduce copyrighted content such as articles and book chapters in your journals, photocopies, coursepacks, library reserves, Web sites, e-mail and more.
  • Copyright Crash Course
    The Copyright Crash Course Online Tutorial will help you learn about how ownership of copyrighted materials works, what is fair use and when and how to get permission to use someone else's materials.
  • Copyright Information and Education (U of M Libraries)
    The site of the University of Minnesota Libraries' Copyright Information and Education Initiative, which supports an informed and educated University community on matters of copyright and its application in teaching, research, and scholarship. Includes tools such as a Fair Use Analysis Tool and Copyright Decision Map.
  • Copyright: an overview
    This is a section of a larger main site covering all aspects of the law from the Cornell Law School ( It is from the "Law about. . . " section of the main site.
  • Copyright Permissions Office, U of M
    This office, secures permission for copyrighted materials use for instructional or other academic purposes by U of M faculty and staff. Photocopying guidelines are also provided.
  • A Fair(y) Use Tale
    YouTube video that uses clips from Disney films to illustrate the concept of "Fair Use."
  • United States Copyright Office
    Key publications, including informational circulars; application forms for copyright registration; links to the copyright law and to the homepages of other copyright-related organizations; news of what the Office is doing, including business-process reengineering plans, Congressional testimony and press releases, regulations; a link to online copyright records cataloged since 1978; and much more.

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