About This Guide

| Table of Contents | How to Use This Guide | References | Acknowledgments |


This guide has been compiled, edited, and revised by Greg Anderson of the Bates College Department of Biology. The guide is intended to provide general content, style, and format guidelines for biology students learning to write papers in a standard, scientific journal style and format that can be easily adapted to specific journal requirements or disciplinary conventions. Much of the specific content has been shaped by the particular needs of the beginning scientific writers in our biology program. We therefore make no claims about completeness or depth for more advanced writers in the biological sciences, or those in other science disciplines. Many excellent published style manuals for scientific exist for graduate students and professional scientific writiers. The guidelines presented here are largely based upon the CBE Style Manual (Huth et al 1994), and we provide suggestions as to other useful published writing guides.


How to Use This Guide

We provide this website as a introductory guide for writing a journal-style scientific paper in a standard format acceptable for most courses in the Biology Department. We suggest that you either have this document running in your browser while you are writing to provide quick answers regarding style and format, or to print a copy for easy reference anytime. Most sections of the document are now available as printer friendly pdf files. To print hardcopy of the information use the File, Print option in your browser or pdf reader.

Each section is accessed from the Table of Contents and within each section you will find links to other relevant information. Link menus are provided at the top of each page to facilitate rapid access of the information for which you are looking. A menu at the bottom of each page allows quick return to the Table of Contents or to the On-Line Resources home page.


Top of Page


Huth J, Brogan M, Dancik B, Kommedahl T, Nadziejka D, Robinson P, Swanson W.1994. Scientific format and style: The CBE manual for authors, editors, and publishers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 825 p.


Many thanks to Seri Lowell, the Scientific Writing Specialist at the Writing at Bates Program for her invaluable comments that have greatly improved this guide during its most recent revision. This guide was originally inspired by a document which came to Bates College from Adelle Binning, a visiting faculty member in Biology at Bates College (1987-88), who excerpted it from a document written by William S. Brooks of Ripon College. Some material was patterned on a similar guide prepared by E.H.Williams of Hamilton College. I am grateful to Kathleen O'Connor and her students in the Bowdoin College Writing Fellows program who graciously critiqued an early version of this document and whose comments have improved it greatly. My wife, Patsy Dickinson, of the Bowdoin College Department of Biology, has provided invaluable critical feedback at many stages in its development. Finally, many thanks to the primary user group, the Natural Sciences students at Bates College who continually provide invaluable feedback on the organization, content, and utility of this guide.

I welcome and encourage feedback from others who may use this guide and ask that it be directed to:

Greg Anderson (email: ganderso@bates.edu)
Dept. of Biology
44 Campus Avenue,
Bates College, Lewiston, ME 04240


Modified 1-11-12
Department of Biology, Bates College, Lewiston, ME 04240