Why W2P ? The challenges of writing in English

Scientific writing presents many challenges for authors. Scientific
articles are rigidly structured and must conform with a standard format, which may differ slightly between disciplines. Journals have individual preferences and styles. There are often word limits, sometimes also numbers of references, tables and figures are limited.


The writing style must be adapted to the function of the article, which is to communicate factual information and explain its implications. Opinions may be expressed but only in a certain way, and they may not be mixed with the factual components of the article.


Writers whose first language is English have an advantage. They usually instinctively manage issues like the agreement of subject and verb, but scientific writing makes other demands: it follows a strictly defined format, it should be precise, concise and yet easily read, even by people whose understanding of English is limited. For authors whose first language is not English, there are other problems. These include limited vocabulary; poor understanding of grammar; poor construction of sentences. These issues hinder communication, make submissions difficult to read, lead to fewer citations and unfortunately may lead to articles being refused by editors, even when the substance is good and worth reporting.