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How to write a proper scientific paper

已有 5905 次阅读 2012-1-5 22:38 |个人分类:教育研究|系统分类:海外观察| writing

每篇文章必须写到你自己爱不释手的时候才可以丢给别人看。写文章有三个阶段。
  • 第一阶段:提笔,总结,把作好的东西通通搬上纸面。改n遍,n>10。这叫搭粗架子。
  • 第二阶段:写累了,改累了,就不要再改了。这时,把所有写好的东西扔掉,重新写。重新搭更美的架子。把食之无味,弃置可惜的东西扔掉。把禁不起推敲的结果扔掉。如此改至少15遍,直到。。。。。
  • 第三阶段:会有一天,你会突然特别喜欢你自己写的东西了,这时别人让你停你都舍不得停下来,觉得太美太艺术了,觉得自己是个语言的匠人了。你就象米开朗琪罗完成一个塑像,从雕像上抠下一个小芝麻大小的泥块,又把这个小芝麻分成一半,慢慢加回去,这才满意。这时您就进入下一个境界。这以后再改十遍,就可以考虑投出去。如果改到你把昨天改掉的东西今天又改回来了,你的“推敲”功夫就花的差不多了,可以几乎无悔的投稿了。

写论文,就是这么简单的一个过程。科研,就是要作到这个份上才感觉到味道。记住,母语是英语的人一篇文章都要改起码30次,中国的学生改的次数只应该更多。

There are a lot of discussions about writing papers recently.  Writing a paper is like giving birth to a baby, or to make an art piece that will be put into the museum.  In the not too faraway "old days", journal papers were called "archival papers" - meaning that these papers are for archives, meaning that they will simply be put up there in a library shelf for many future generations to reference. 
Today, we seem to no longer worry about the name "archival paper" anymore.  Cheap .pdf format makes a paper seems like a disposable show 'n' tell.  However, let it be known that a paper is always a paper.  A paper is not an entry into your SCI Pub column, a way to keep a score.  If you write a bad paper once, your colleagues will forever disrespect anything you do thereafter.
Many Chinese or anyone in non-English speaking countries are tired of writing. Students get tired with their professors after a few rounds of "torture". Asian country authors put up relatively rushed work frequently. As an editor to a journal, I always tell such authors one simple fact - that native English speakers typically go through 25-30 rounds of revision before they submit a paper.
Writing a paper typically takes three phases:
  • In the first phase, you write and you write, starting to fill in more facts, adjusting the structure;
  • At one point, you say "I am so tired of this", and you delete ALL THE CONTENTS, and you write from a blank scratch.  You decide to tell your story in the right way. This time, your paper takes a gigantic leap of quality.  After this point, you edit your paper 10-15 times, each time wishing you could be done soon.
  • At SOME POINT, you began to think differently.  Your paper is such an art piece - it flows well, it read pleasantly, and draws the audience into it.  In one word, it starts to feel nice to you.  YOU ACTUALLY DON'T WANT TO LET IT GO!  You start to like your own work! you want to work on it forever. You work on it for 10 more rounds, each time ADMIRING your own work. You enter into a mood, like an artist drawing on a canvas or a sculptor making silk dress out of stone.

NOW, this is the time you can, and must let your paper go!

Many discussions on this sciencenet talks about a student getting SO TIRED of his/her professor after the first two rounds in the FIRST PHASE of paper writing.  This is simply ridiculous. No self-respecting writer from a native English speaking country would even do this.

(By the way, writing a paper without your advisor's consent is a series offense. It is like if you work in a bank as an intern and you give a customer a loan without your bank manager's approval.  You will be fired if that is the case, correct? )

以下是摘抄一段百度百科的文章,读下很有隐喻的指导性:

东风夜放花千树,更吹落星如雨。宝马雕车香满路,凤箫声动,玉壶光转,一夜鱼龙舞。 蛾儿雪柳黄金缕,笑语盈盈暗香去。众里寻他千百度,蓦然回首,那人却在,灯火阑珊处。

[译文] 东风仿佛吹开了盛开鲜花的千棵树,又如将空中的繁星吹落,象阵阵星雨。华丽的香车宝马在路上来来往往,各式各样的醉人香气弥漫着大街。悦耳的音乐之声四处回荡,职如风萧和玉壶在空中流光飞舞,热闹的夜晚鱼龙形的彩灯在翻腾。美人的头上都戴着亮丽的饰物,晶莹多彩的装扮在人群中晃动。她们面容微笑,带着淡淡的香气从人面前经过。我寻找她千百次,都见不到,不经意间一回头,却看见了她立在灯火深处。 

 [简要评析] "作为一首婉约词,这首《青玉案》与北宋婉约派大家晏殊和柳永相比,在艺术成就上毫不逊色。词作从极力渲染元宵节绚丽多彩的热闹场面入手,反衬出一个孤高淡泊、超群拔俗、不同于金翠脂粉的女性形象,寄托着作者政治失意后,不愿与世俗同流合污的孤高品格。词从开头起“东风夜放花千树”,就极力渲染元宵佳节的热闹景象:满城灯火,满街游人,火树银花,通宵歌舞。然而作者的意图不在写景,而是为了反衬“灯火阑珊处”的那个人的与众不同。本词描绘出无宵佳节通宵灯火的热闹场景,梁启超谓“自怜幽独,伤心人别有怀抱。”认为本词有寄托,可谓知音。上片与元夕之夜灯火辉煌,游人如云的热闹场面,下片写不幕荣华,甘守寂寞的一位美人形象。美人形象便是寄托着作者理想人格的化身。王国维把这种境界称之为成大事业者,大学问者的第三种境界,确是大学问者的真知灼见。



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