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Rédaction scientifique en

(PLU 6150)

Danielle Buch
© Danielle Buch 2015, 2016 – All rights reserved/Tous droits réservés.
V 1.4 Oct. 2016
À qui s’adresse ce cours
À ceux qui cherchent à perfectionner leur
présentation scientifique en anglais

Ce n’est PAS un cours d’anglais

C’est un atelier DE BASE, donc si vous

avez déjà plusieurs publications à votre
Apprentissages/objectifs visés
Communication écrite efficace en anglais
dans un contexte scientifique

Différenciation des principaux styles de

rédaction scientifique

Connaissance des meilleurs choix de

revues pour publication

Thèmes abordés
Composantes d'un manuscrit pour revue
scientifique, communiqué de presse, abstract

Optimisation de l’abstract

Bibliométrie, évaluation de la recherche et accès


Rejet ou demande de révision

Plan de cours
1. La communication claire
2. Le manuscrit pour publication dans une
revue scientifique – en détail
3. L’abstract
4. Le choix de revue pour publication
5. La lettre de présentation, communiqué
de presse, vulgarisation pour le grand
Abstract : 30 %

Communiqué de presse
Lettre de présentation (soumission de
manuscrit) : 20 %

Présence et participation en classe : 50 %

Rédaction scientifique en anglais
AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 10th ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2007:

Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, 2016: www.icmje.org;


American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., 2010 :

o Tutorials: www.apastyle.org/learn/tutorials

o Corrected Sample Papers: supp.apa.org/style/PM6E-Corrected-Sample-Papers.pdf

o OWL: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

o APA 6th Edition Quick Reference, July 2009; Penn State, York: www2.yk.psu.edu/learncenter/apa-july-09.pdf

Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT), 2010: www.consort-statement.org

Scitable. English Communication for Scientists. Nature Education, 2014: www.nature.com/scitable/ebooks/english-


Wiley Author Services. Optimizing Your Article for Search Engines, 2016:

TERMIUM Plus, Plain Language, 2016: www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tcdnstyl-


The Little Red Schoolhouse. University of Chicago Writing Program:


Reverso French-English Dictionary, 2016: http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/francais-anglais/

English Thesaurus, 2016: www.thesaurus.com

La rédaction scientifique

Transfert des connaissances

 Demandes de fonds
 Abstracts et lay abstract
 Articles publiés dans les revues scientifiques
 Communiqués de presse
 Lignes directrices (« guidelines »)
 Sites web
 Articles pour le grand public
Plan de cours
1. La communication claire
2. Le manuscrit pour publication dans une
revue scientifique
3. Le choix de revue pour publication
4. L’abstract
5. La lettre de présentation, communiqué
de presse, vulgarisation pour le grand
La communication claire

Plain Language
Plain language
International initiative – contracts, consent forms,
websites, etc.

1975 – Flesch-Kincaid readability test, algorithm that

predicts the level of education required to read the
selected text;
e.g. score 8.0 = 8th grade

M/S Word – Spelling and grammar – readability

statistics: word length, sentence length,
sentences/paragraph; Flesch-Kincaid grade level
Readability statistics
M/S Word – Spelling and grammar –
readability statistics:
word length
sentence length
Flesch reading ease (100 = very easy)
Flesch-Kincaid grade level (8 = grade 8)
Plain language
USA – Plain Language Writing Act 2010 –
federal government: tax returns, college apps,
legal docs (loans, etc.)

European commission – 3Cs –

correct, clear, concise !

International Consortium for Clear

Communication (ICClear): http://icclear.net/ –
Austria, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, Portugal,
Plain language
Canada (2006, 2014)
Plain language for government communications

“The obligation to inform the public includes the

obligation to communicate effectively. Information about
government policies, programs and services should be
clear, objective and simple, and presented in a manner
that is readily understandable. Messages should convey
information relevant to public needs, use plain language
and be expressed in a clear and consistent style.”

(Treasury Board, "Government Communications Policy,"

Treasury Board Publications on CD-ROM, p. 17.)
Plain language
Drug labelling, June 2015:

1. What is the purpose of the general plain language

…to ensure that information … can be easily understood by the
target audience and that the format or presentation of labels does
not impede comprehension...

2. To which products does this requirement apply?

… to prescription and non-prescription pharmaceutical drugs,
biologic drugs, and radiopharmaceuticals.
Plain language
1. Audience
2. Active vs passive voice
3. Limited jargon
4. Standard abbreviations, if any
5. Simpler vocabulary
6. Shorter sentences
7. Short, coherent paragraphs
8. No dangling participles
9. Modifiers close to word being modified
10. Verbs vs noun strings
11. Specifics vs generalities
12. Visual clarity
13. Proof-reading and editing
Before and after
When the process of freeing a stuck vehicle that has
been stuck results in ruts or holes, the operator will fill
the rut or hole created by such activity before removing
the vehicle from the immediate area.


(www.plainlanguage.gov; DocID: 212)

Target audience
Education level
Specialization level
Interest level
Age level
Size level
Intimacy level
Geographic location
Active vs. passive
It was hypothesized that
It might be expected that
Was reported to be useful for
A questionnaire was chosen and
Students were approached
Active voice
For this study, we analyzed 177 samples
from fragments of pottery excavated at 18
sites (Fig. 1). All samples came from
fragments of ceramic vessels, but the
conditions of those samples varied.
Limited jargon
Lay summary
Press release
Communications to patients
Avoid non-standard abbreviations
Limit abbreviations to those used  4 times
Define at first use
Define separately for each figure/table
Simplify vocabulary
Advance planning Planning
After this is accomplished Then
At an early date Soon
Facilitate Help, make possible
Utilize Use
In order to To
Five in number Five
In the absence of Without
It would be appropriate for me to begin by saying that
Owing to the fact that Because, since
In regards to About, concerning
Moreover Further
Furthermore Further
With the exception of Except for
Runaway sentences – Example 1
(Anthropology paper)

Crown PL, Gu J, Hurst WJ, et al. Ritual

drinks in the pre-Hispanic US Southwest
and Mexican Northwest. Proc Natl Acad
Sci U S A. 2015;112(37):11436-42. doi:
Runaway sentences
Redo this sentence:

The discovery of cacao residues in ceramics

from Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New
Mexico, demonstrated exchange with
populations in the tropical areas where
Theobroma cacao grew in the past as well as
consumption of ritual drinks by at least A.D.
1000 in the canyon (1, 2).

(46 words)
Example 2
In assessing the intergenerational effects of adverse
events on well-being, it needs to be considered that the
impact of trauma experiences of one generation are
difficult to dissociate from the effects of adverse events
encountered in subsequent generations. Specifically,
poor well-being may reflect the direct actions of current
events, the direct or indirect effects attributable to
traumatic experiences in previous generations, or the
synergy between the two.

(Bombay A, Matheson K, Anisman H. Intergenerational Trauma: Convergence of Multiple Processes among First
Nations peoples in Canada. J Aboriginal Health. 2009 (Nov): 6-47.)
Runaway sentences
Redo this sentence:

First of all, in a general sense, what is interesting is that

in addition to the initial objective which was to restart the
learning process, it was found that this literacy training
would enable individuals, who are totally inhibited, to
once again discover at least a minimum of self-

Dangling participles

Walking through the forest, the

microenvironment was very different from
what we had anticipated.

What’s wrong?
Headline News: www.plainlanguage.gov/examples/humor/headlines.cfm

Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax

Farmer Bill Dies in House
British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
War Dims Hope for Peace
If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Well-placed modifiers
Correct this sentence:
This rule proposes the Spring/Summer
subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska
for migratory birds that expire on August
31, 2003.

Verbs rather than nouns
Active verbs are stronger

Change the following: They are having

difficulty arriving at the conclusion that the
case will prove a success.

(Young G. Plain language: Building results. Presentation, 2014.)

Simplify vocabulary
Carry out an examination of Examine
Effect an improvement Improve
Ensure maintenance of Maintain
Give consideration to Consider
Make an inquiry Inquire, ask
Has a requirement for Needs

Use verbs rather than nouns
Avoid “nominalization”

Example: All decisions pertaining to the

reimbursement of staff travel expenses that
exceed $400.00 are the prerogative of

Verbs rather than nouns
Rewrite the following (Little Red Schoolhouse): (15 minutes)

1. There was committee agreement.

2. Analysis of the issue was done by the author.
3. An evaluation of the program by us is planned in order to achieve
greater efficiency in the servicing of clients.
4. Decisions in regard to administration of medication despite inability
of irrational patients appearing in Trauma Centers to provide legal
consent rest with physicians alone.
5. A study was performed on the causes behind the decrease in the
identification of child abuse among emergency room service by the
legal staff.
6. Our estimate is of a 75-80% reduction in the introduction of new
chemicals in the event a requirement under this regulation is a
Preliminary Manufacturing Notice.
7. Development and standardization of an index for the measurement
of thought disorders has made quantification of patient response as
a function of treatment modality possible.
Attracts reader
Merriam-Webster: “the introductory section
of a news story that is intended to entice
the reader to read the full story”
Word first came into use in 1976
First sentence
First paragragh
Differs according to type of article –
journalistic, scientific manuscript, etc.
Lede – Organization of article
Direct – begins with conclusion – ans 5
Indirect – presents data, facts, findings,
followed by conclusion
One main idea (topic sentence)
Supporting sentences
Smooth and logical flow
Concluding sentence (optional)
Shorter paragraphs, but at least 2 sentences

Segue words:
 First,
 The most important reason
 The next step
 Moreover,
 However,
 In addition,
 In summary,
 To summarize,
Organizing arguments
1. Least important to most important, or
2. Logical progression from one argument
to the next

Need segue in any case.

Punctuation in English
Colon – no space before
Quotation marks – no space before
Question mark, exclamation point – no
space before
He said, she said – not within the
Commas in list – sometimes before last
item, sometimes not
USA, British, Canadian English
 -or, -our (colour)
 -ize, -ise (analyze)
 -er, -re (theatre, fibre)
 -a, -ae (pediatric)
 -l, -ll (labelled)
 judgment, judgement
Flush left
Easy-to-read type size and font
White space
Clean graphics
Keep simple
Avoid colours
Reproducible in bl/wh
CONSORT Flow diagram
Figure 2. Example

Figure 2. Proportion of patients who rated their worst and average pain on
movement during the previous 24 hours as moderate to severe in the first
week after surgery. Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.

(adapted from: Choinière M, Watt-Watson J, Victor JC et al. Prevalence of and risk factors for persistent postoperative
nonanginal pain after cardiac surgery: a 2-year prospective multicentre study. CMAJ. 2014;186(7):E213-23.)
Write for reader
Use active voice
Avoid jargon
Keep sentences short (< 20 words)
Omit unneeded words
Avoid noun strings
Keep subject and verb close together
Keep modifier close to word being modified
Use active verbs
Convey message positively
Keep paragraphs short, clear, concise – one idea
Link ideas with connecting words
Use headings, lists, tables, figures
Choose easy-to-read font and font size
Leave white space
Edit, edit, edit
Review exercises
1. The Committee was composed of scientific
experts who were responsible for reviewing
and analyzing the most current dietary and
nutritional information and incorporating this
into a scientific evidence-based report.
Review exercises
2. To maintain body weight in a healthy
range, balance calories from foods and
beverages with calories expended.
Review exercises
3. Development of Authoritative Statements: The
content of this website is not appropriate for
use in the development of authoritative
statements, as provided for in the Food and
Drug Administration Modernization Act. This
content has been developed based on the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, which
has the potential to provide authoritative
statements. Only statements included in the
Executive Summary and Key
Recommendations boxes of the Dietary
Guidelines can be used for identification of
authoritative statements.
Semaine prochaine

Manuscrit de recherche
References for Plain Language
Plain language guidelines:
 Plain language:

 TERMIUM Plus: www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tcdnstyl-


 How to Cut the Gobbledegook: an introduction to plain language writing and

clear design. PEI Literacy Alliance. Charlottetown, PEI:

 Claire’s Clear Writing Tips. European Commission:


Tutorial: www.nih.gov/clearcommunication/plainlanguage/gettingstarted/index.htm

Hamilton G. Les trucs d’anglais qu’on a oublié de vous enseigner. L’instant Même,
Quebec, Canada; 2011.

The Little Red Schoolhouse. University of Chicago Writing Program:


© Danielle Buch 2015, 2016 – All rights reserved/Tous droits réservés.

V 1.3 Oct. 2016