12 Good Books on How to Write and Publish Research Papers

Writing and publishing scientific papers is your right of passage to the world of academia and professional expertise. After years and years of accumulating expert knowledge, there comes a time in your scholarly journey when you want to start sharing your expertise with the world, whether you are a freshly graduated PhD student or a seasoned educator.

Books on How to Write and Publish Research Papers

Yes, publishing research papers gets you out of your cocoon and exposes you to the sun. This usually comes with a sense of vulnerability and a heightened feeling of imposter syndrome especially when your work gets roasted by others in your field (and it certainly will). No worries, all of these things dissipate once you get your feet wet, and with time you will develop an alligator’s skin. We all did!

If you are in the world of academia then you probably are already familiar with the popular moto ‘publish or perish’. Academia exerts a taxing pressure on students and scholars requiring them to publish consistently. It sometimes feels like you are imprisoned within a system that stifles the life out of your creative abilities.

Writing academic prose is something I have been doing for many years and each time I exceed my tolerance limit I get very uncomfortable with it. I am so lucky to have this blog because it provides me with an outlet through which I can express myself the way I want without having to worry about arcane structure, academic jargon, and pompous style. Don’t get me wrong, I like writing research papers and I feel tremendous joy when they get published but I guess too much of anything gets your screwed.

That being said, the purpose of this post is to share with you this handy collection featuring some very good books on how to write and publish research papers. As you know, writing and publishing research papers is an essential process for advancing knowledge in the sciences. It also allows you to share your research with a wider audience and receive feedback from peers.

From creating solid research questions, developing effective writing techniques, navigating the publishing process, responding to viewers, to understanding intellectual property rights, these books offer comprehensive guidance for those who want to become successful academic writers.

1. Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded, by Joshua Schimel

Writing Science

Writing Science “takes an integrated approach, using the principles of story structure to discuss every aspect of successful science writing, from the overall structure of a paper or proposal to individual sections, paragraphs, sentences, and words. It begins by building core arguments, analyzing why some stories are engaging and memorable while others are quickly forgotten, and proceeds to the elements of story structure, showing how the structures scientists and researchers use in papers and proposals fit into classical models.”

2. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, by Kate L. Turabian et al.

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, which is known as Turabian, is now one the classic books on writing scientific papers. “When Kate L. Turabian first put her famous guidelines to paper, she could hardly have imagined the world in which today’s students would be conducting research. Yet while the ways in which we research and compose papers may have changed, the fundamentals remain the same: writers need to have a strong research question, construct an evidence-based argument, cite their sources, and structure their work in a logical way. “

3. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks, by Wendy Laura Belcher

Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks

Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks is step by step guide that helps you build your research paper from scratch to publication. “Each week, readers learn a feature of strong articles and work on revising theirs accordingly. Every day is mapped out, taking the guesswork and worry out of writing. There are tasks, templates, and reminders. At the end of twelve weeks, graduate students, recent PhDs, postdoctoral fellows, adjunct instructors, junior faculty, and international faculty will feel confident they know that the rules of academic publishing and have the tools they need to succeed.”

4. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, by Barbara Gastel, Robert A. Day

How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper

How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper provides you with the knowledhe and skills you need to craft well-written research papers. “The authors not only guide readers in the craft of scientific writing―broken down into the separate tasks of writing the respective sections of a scientific paper and then publishing the paper―but also address important related psychological, ethical, logistical, and cultural considerations in communicating about science.

Chapter topics include composing (and requesting) recommendation letters, writing grant proposals, providing peer review, editing one’s own work, preparing oral presentations and poster presentations, and working with the popular media. This is an essential resource for researchers―both native and non-native users of English―with limited experience writing scientific papers, such as graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career faculty members.”

5. The Scientist’s Guide to Writing: How to Write More Easily and Effectively throughout Your Scientific Career, by Stephen B. Heard 

The Scientist's Guide to Writing

Stephen Heard, drawing on his long experience as a scientist, editor and graduate advisor, imparts the core principals of effective scientific writing. He argues that “scientific writing should be absolute clarity; that good writing takes deliberate practice; and that what many scientists need are not long lists of prescriptive rules but rather direct engagement with their behaviors and attitudes when they write. He combines advice on such topics as how to generate and maintain writing momentum with practical tips on structuring a scientific paper, revising a first draft, handling citations, responding to peer reviews, managing co-authorships, and more.”

6. The Craft of Scientific Writing, by Michael Alley

The Craft of Scientific Writing

In The Craft of Scientific Writing, Michael Alley provides a unique perspective on scientific writing illustrating his approach with concrete examples. “Alley has taught scientific writing on four continents, in sixteen countries, and at more than 150 companies, laboratories, universities, and agencies. This advice in this book benefits from that experience. If you are looking for a recipe on how to communicate your scientific work, look elsewhere. This book captures many of he nuances that distinguish the best best scientific writing.”

7. Scientific Writing and Communication: Papers, Proposals, and Presentations, by Angelika H. Hofmann 

Scientific Writing and Communication

Scientific Writing and Communication: Papers, Proposals, and Presentations “covers all the areas of scientific communication that a scientist needs to know and master in order to successfully promote his or her research and career. This unique “all-in-one” handbook begins with a discussion of the basic principles of scientific writing style and composition and then applies these principles to writing research papers, review articles, grant proposals, research statements, and résumés, as well as to preparing academic presentations and posters.”

8. Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps, by Margaret Cargill, Patrick O’Connor 

Writing Scientific Research Articles

Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps “provides systematic guidance on writing effective scientific papers with the greatest chance for publication. Using clear language, this highly practical guide shows scientists how to apply their analysis and synthesis skills to produce a compelling research article and increase their competence in written communication of science.”

9. Your First Research Paper: Learn how to start, structure, write and publish a perfect research paper to get the top mark, by Henry M Burton

Your First Research Paper

Your First Research Paper provides you with the insights you need to know “to make sure that your paper is of top quality, publishable, and prepared to be submitted on time…In this comprehensive guide you will learn:

  • How to create a solid research question (with examples)
  • The standard formatting of a research paper (as well as the purpose of each section of it)
  • Everything you need to know about intellectual property rights
  • How to use references and footnotes
  • How to get published.”

10. Write an Impactful Research Paper, by Dr. Martins Zaumanis

 Write an impactful research paper

In Write an Impactful Research Paper, Martins Zaumanis offers you “a blueprint for confident academic writing, even if you do not possess the writing gene. You will learn:

  • How to become a prolific writer using four research paper writing steps called “LEAP”
  • How to make sense of research results and frame a core message that convinces your readers
  • How to respond to vicious reviewers and get your paper accepted at the best journals
  • Eight unwritten academic publishing rules you should follow to garner numerous citations and succeed in your academic career

Instead of fearing the writing process, this crisp book will show you how to leverage it as a means of understanding your research results.”

11. Scientific Writing and Communication, by Angie Hofmann

Scientific Writing and Communication

Scientific Writing and Communication is “an “all-in-one” handbook that covers the areas of scientific communication that a student, researcher, or scientist needs to know and to master in order to successfully promote his or her research and career. Written in an accessible and easy-to-understand manner, the book begins with several chapters on the basics of the scientific writing style.

It then builds on these by applying the presented principles to all types of scientific documents. The book also covers academic presentations and posters in detail. Applicable in the fields of life sciences, medicine, psychology, chemistry, physics, and engineering, it is ideal as a stand-alone textbook or as a reference guide.”

12. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, by Paul J. Silvia

How to Write a Lot

I have read Silvia’s book How to Write a Lot multiple times during my doctoral journey and each time I come back to it I learn something new. In How to Write a Lot “Paul Silvia offers fresh advice to help you overcome barriers to writing and use your time more productively. After addressing some common excuses and bad habits, he provides practical strategies to motivate students, professors, researchers, and other academics to become better and more prolific writers.

Silvia draws from his own experience in psychology to explain how to write, submit, and revise academic work, from journal articles to books, all without sacrificing evenings, weekends, and vacations. The tips and strategies in this second edition have been updated to apply to academic writing in most disciplines. Also new to this edition is a chapter on writing grant and fellowship proposals.”