Clarity in scientific writing | Sunday Observer

Clarity in scientific writing

14 August, 2022

Clear words should be used for communications in science. The use of vague terms can hinder communication in science. Lack of clarity is frequently criticized in scientific communications. In many cases, the use of words for communication purposes in science is done without sufficient care.

This leads to confusion. Writing with jargons, complex technical terms and acronyms in scientific writing is wonderful. But it is difficult for a person to understand.

This is especially difficult for non-native English speakers. Scientific communication should be clear and simple. Science communication is done to communicate science, not to demonstrate language skills. Readers’ expectations should be met in scientific communications through proper clarity.

Science communications that are clear, concise, and written to the point are more likely to be read and ultimately cited than wordy and long communications. Moreover, the scientific literature shows that long is not always better, and short is beautiful.


Not only in writing, but also in speech, listening to speeches that use very complex words, long and without a central idea is very boring.

Careless science communication not only hinders publication, it makes it difficult to understand and build on the work of other researchers.

Poor communication limits the impact of science research, so the scientific community ultimately suffers. Vague and ambiguous science communication is primed for inconsistent interpretation and clarification.

Inconsistent interpretation of science communications puts users at a disadvantage. Writing complex scientific articles in simple language is always challenging. Technical terms, abbreviations and jargon, although used, cannot be completely avoided when writing complex scientific articles.

However, the preparation of complex scientific articles is essential for sharing knowledge and reporting research reports at a high standard.

It is actually inevitable in modern science. Researchers have a duty to improve the quality of written communication in order to expand useful knowledge.

Poor writing

Poor writing is always a problem in science. This is common in developing countries where research findings are often wasted due to poor communication issues. Most academic institutions around the world usually reward researchers for good publication rather than good writing. Disincentives to writing clearly have also been identified.

Communications written using confusing language tend to overwhelm poorly written publications. Many professionals have fallen victim to the “curse of knowledge.” The curse of knowledge is a cognitive prejudice or bias that happens when a person communicating with other people assumes that they have the background knowledge to understand and appreciate other people.

This is also known as the curse of expertise. Because of this issue, professionals use hard-to-understand style of language in communications, which are very hard to understand and interpret.

Another problem is that writing comes late in the research process. Late or hurried writings are done at the last minute with, impatience, and inability to complete them properly. There will be a lot of problems in last minute writing and last minute writing is always careless.

Awareness programs

Many measures can be taken to improve the clarity in scientific writing. Institutes should always encourage students to read and conduct awareness programs/workshops on how to explain complex topics in simple language. Also, institutes should find ways to reward academics who strive to bring their work to a wider audience.

Many reputed journals/books do their best to improve confusing writing. Reputed journals always use simple language which is easy to understand. Therefore, researchers should always find excellent writing examples and learn.

Research activities need a lot of amount of time, effort, and money. The money spent for research is public money. Public money will be wasted if your research is not published in a clear manner. Therefore, good researchers should also be good authors.