“ Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know. ”
~ Michel de Montaigne

Best practices for government communications directors:
NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco explicitly tells NOAA scientists that they are free to speak to the public, including the media, without permission from anyone at NOAA:
• Federal Agency Encourages Its Scientists to Speak Out Mark Fischetti, Scientific American blog, 12-8-11, on NOAA's policy of promoting open science
• NOAA statement on NOAA scientific integrity commons
• NOAA FAQs on its scientific integrity policy
• NOAA state of the science fact sheets (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

"The future is already here – it's just not very evenly distributed."
~ attributed to science fiction writer William Gibson

"From 1989 to 2005, the number of US papers featuring weekly science-related sections shrank from ninety-five to thirty-four. Many of the remaining sections shifted to softer health, fitness and "news you can use" coverage, reflecting the apparent judgment that more thorough science or science policy coverage just doesn't support itself economically.
And the problem isn't confined to newspapers. Just one minute out of every 300 on cable news is devoted to science and technology, or one-third of 1 percent. Late last year CNN cut its entire science, space and technology unit."
~ Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, Unpopular Science, The Nation, 7-29-09

Jargon: "language more complex than the word it serves to communicate."
~ Susan Brownmiller, as cited by Bob Bly

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
~Philip K. Dick "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" (borrowed from DrSteveB on Daily Kos

“A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new ideas he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.”
~William Stafford, poet

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."
~ Dorothy Parker

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
~Aristotle

“Science is uniquely distinguished from other human practices: it is the only activity in which the constraints of reality have brought to the quest for deep answers an effective consensus across all the variations that in other respects divide the human species. The accepted findings of science are the same in all countries, in all languages and for people of all ages religions and genders.”
~ Henry H. Bauer, Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method

As much as 45 percent of what we do every day is a habit,
researchers say, triggered by one of the following:
* a specific location or time of day
* a certain series of actions
* a particular mood
* the company of specific people.

From "Warning: habits may be good for you," by Charles Duhigg (The New York Times, 7-13-08)

SCIENCE PODCASTS



In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.
~ Sir Francis Darwin

"If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it well.

"Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.

"Everything should be as simple as it can be, yet no simpler"
~ Albert Einstein

If you can’t explain your theory to a bartender, it’s probably no good.
~ Ernest Rutherford, astrophysicist, quoted by Bill Roorbach in Writing Life Stories

"Just tell me what time it is! I don't care how you built the clock!"

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.
~ Muriel Rukeyser, “The Speed of Darkness”


New Formulas for America's Workforce: Girls in Science and Engineering (written by Pat McNees, for the National Science Foundation)

Quick Links

Find Authors

Science and medical writing


Entries here will be more helpful for "science writers" (which is what I would call those of us writing about science for the general reader) than for "scientific writers" (scientists writing for each other).
For more on technical writing, check out Corporate and technical communications.
For examples and explanations of better ways to tell a science story, check out Adding images, sound, story, humor, animation



Organizations for Medical and Science Writers

• American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM), geared to academics, though physicians also get CME credits for attending annual conference. Offers a Supercourse (a global repository of lectures on public health and preventive health care, on epidemiology and global health. Supercourse described here.
••• American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) promotes excellence in medical communication through education, publications, and networking. Provides training and certificates and is working with several other organizations toward providing certification (a more expensive and elaborate ongoing process). Cynthia Haggard had a history of AMWA on her excellent Clarifying blog.
• Associations of science journalists that belong to the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ), including (among forty national, regional, or international organizations) the Arab Science Journalists Association (ASJA) and the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW)
• Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE)
••• Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ). Extremely helpful organization. listserv, and conference for health and medical writers, with excellent resources available only to members. These include Covering Medical Research, the 2010 slim guide for understanding and reporting on studies (by Gary Schwitzer with Ivan Oransky), for AHCJ and the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism; Covering Health in a Multicultural Society: A resource guide for journalists; Covering Hospitals: Using Tools on the Web; Covering Obesity: A Guide for Reporters; Covering the Health of Local Nursing Homes; Covering the Quality of Health Care: A Resource Guide for Journalists; and Navigating the CDC: A Journalist’s Guide to the CDC Web Site. Plus issues of Health Beat, AHCJ's journal.
• Association of Health Care Journalists Statement of Principless
• Association of Independent Information Professionals (aiip, an industry association for owners of independent information businesses)
• AuthorAID -- a global research community providing networking, mentoring, resources and training to help developing country researchers publish their work
••• Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS). See Becoming a board-certified editor.

• Canadian Science Writers' Association (CSWA)
• Council of Science Editors (CSE) (formerly the Council of Biology Editors, CBE). See CSE's Facebook page for style tips from CSE's manual, Scientific Style and Format
• Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW)
• DC Science Writers Association (DCSWA, pronounced DUCK-swah)
• Drug Information Association (DIA)
• The European Association of Science Editors (EASE)
• European Medical Writers Association (EMWA)
• Guild of Health Writers (UK)
• Health and Science Communications Association (H&SCA)
• International Science Writers Association (ISWA)
• International Society for the History of Medicine (SIHM)
• International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), pronounced IzMap (for stakeholders involved in the publication of medical research, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and device companies, medical publications and communications agencies, medical journal publishers and editors, and professional medical writers). Provides a formal, voluntary professional certification examination
• International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE), training and networking for editorial office staff in academic, scientific, medical, technical and professional publishing
• JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments, the first PubMed-indexed video methods journal in biology)
••• National Association of Science Writers (NSWA), a major national association. NASW discussion groups. The National Association of Science Writers maintains eight public email lists for the discussion of subjects of interest to science writers and two lists available only to members (including NASW Jobs). Topics for the public lists: science writing, freelancing, public relations, writing or marketing science books, teaching science writing, freedom of information issues, general discussion (NASW-chat).
• National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME)
• National Education Technology Writers Association (NETWA)

• New England Science Writers (NESW)
• Northern California Science Writers Association (NCSWA, pronounced NICK swa)
• Northwest Science Writers Association (NSWA)
• Nurse Author & Editor (newsletters may be helpful)
• Organizations for technical writers (links to an international list of professional organizations, maintained by Peter Ring consultants, Denmark)
• Penn State Association of Science Writers (a/​k/​a Penn State Science Writers Group)
• Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) (making better healthcare products possible)
• Science and Medicine SIG of the American Society of Indexers (ASI)
• Science Writers in New York (SWINY)
••• Society for Technical Communication (STC), many local chapter
••• Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ)
• Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science (SAHMS)
• World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), for editors of peer-reviewed medical journals)
• World Conference of Science Journalists (Helsinki, Finland, June 24-28, 2013). ‘Killer’ science journalists of the future ready to take over the world! (Bora Zivkovic, Scientific American blog, 9-23-12, reporting on the 2012 World Conference of Science Journalists)
••• World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ), made up of forty member associations

Seminars and workshops on science writing

• Truth in Numbers (Cathy Shufro, Dartmouth Medicine.) A story about Medicine in the Media. During the nine years since it was initiated, 500 journalists have attended the course, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Medicine in the Media at Geisel, and the White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Vermont. "We want doctors, the public, and policymakers to know what they can and cannot get from various medications, treatments, and interventions." Related reading: Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics, by by Steven Woloshin, Lisa M. Schwartz, and H. Gilbert Welch
• Medicine in the Media Course (canceled in 2013 because of sequestration)
• Archived events, Knight Digital Media Center (available to registered members only)
• Narrative Medicine workshops provide narrative training with stories of illness to enable "practitioners to comprehend patients’ experiences and to understand what they themselves undergo as clinicians." (See separate entry for Narrative Medicine, for more information.)
• Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop
Related:
• Certification for medical writers. The Certified Medical Publication Professional (CMPP) exam is a three-hour, 150-item, multiple-choice computer-based examination, open to both members of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) members and nonmembers. Holding the certificate shows you have a thorough working knowledge of all aspects of medical publishing, including planning, execution, and professional ethics. One can also take the CMEP exam for CME, and AMWA plans to develop its own credentialing exam. On that subject, see:
• Are We Certifiable? (AMWA Journal blog 9-12-11)
• People Are Talking (AMWA Journal blog 9-27-11)
• AMWA certificate programs
Google "science writing workshop" and you'll find some courses associated with colleges and universities.

Online writing workshops, courses


• Analytical writing for science & technology (T.M.Georges' online course, recommended by Sarah Wernick)
• Chest's Medical Writing Tip of the Month (your own personal online medical writing course). Chest Online--and it's free! PDF files of such articles as Reporting a Systematic Review; Hypothesis Testing, Study Power, and Sample Size; Comments on Writing Letters to the Editor: Moving From Duels and Fencing to Belles Lettres; Translating Patient Education Materials; Reporting "Basic Results" in ClinicalTrials.gov; Backing Up Your Statements: How To Perform Literature Searches To Prove Your Points; When a Picture Needs 1,000 Words; Abstracts for Professional Meetings: Small But Mighty; On the Table: Form and Function. Genuinely informative series.
• ****Clinical Chemistry Guide to Scientific Writing (free, online--full text, from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
• Online course offerings, Medical editing (University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and
Professional studies)
• Online Course in Science Journalism (WFSJ and SciDev.Net), created by the World Federation of Science Journalists in close cooperation with the Science and Development Network, for use by professional journalists, journalism students and teachers. The first eight lessons (free for use by anyone in the world):
1) Planning and structuring your work (Jan Lublinkski)
2) Finding and judging science stories (Julie Clayton)
3) The interview (Christina Scott)
4) Writing skills (Nadia El-Awady)
5) What is science? (Gervais Mbarga and Jean-Marc Fleury)
6) Reporting on controversies (KS Jayaraman)
7) Reporting on science policy (Hepeng Jia and Richard Stone)
8) How to shoot science (Šαrka Spevαkovα and Carolyn Robinson).
For each course there is an e-lecture, self-teaching questions, assignments, and PDF versions. Read the User's Guide to the Online Course in Science Journalism . The course is available in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Turkish.
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RESOURCES FOR SCIENCE AND MEDICAL WRITERS

Advice for Science Writers from Science Writers, Maryn McKenna's column about (and highlights from) a long blog Ed Yong opened up to the science-writing community: On the Origin of Science Writers. On Yong's blog you can read 146 personal accounts of how people got into science writing, with advice to those just starting in the field. Also on Yong's Discover blog Not Exactly Rocket Science, check out his amusing analysis of the science writing process.

Against Stigma: Writing Responsibly About Mental Illness (Emily DePrang, Reporting on Health blog, 4-2-14). Write about mental illness more regularly and outside of a criminal context. There are plenty of fascinating stories.

All about Stories: How to Tell Them, How They’re Changing, and What They Have to Do with Science (Lena Groeger, Scientific American, 6-6-11, reporting on the World Science Festival)

Alternative Income Sources for Writers, Norman Bauman's summary of an ASJA meeting on the subject in 2002, may be helpful, and be sure to see the material he added to his website: Catherine E. Oliver's on what's required for technical writing. Norman's other reports include How to find and price medical writing jobs (1999). For more such summaries, including an interesting piece on text retrieval and search engines, go to Bauman's website, Medical Writing in New York.


Are you an editor or a writer? How do you know? What are the crucial differences between the two specializations? The question arose when Slate science editor Laura Helmuth was visiting a class that Ann Finkbeiner teaches at the graduate program in science writing at Johns Hopkins University. Ann, hoping to help her students figure out whether they were natively editors or natively writers, asked Laura about the difference between writers and editors. Together they asked several science writers. editors, and writer-editors to describe the differences.
• Are you an editor or a writer? Part I: The writers. (posted by Christie Aschwanden, The Open Notebook, 1-16-13).
• Are you an editor or a writer? Part II: The editors. (posted by Christie Aschwanden, The Open Notebook, 1-16-13).

Calendars
• Scientific events calendars from around the world (Of schemes and memes blog, Nature, 10-18-11)
• NY Sci


CDC Learning Network helps you locate learning products and resources from across the public health community.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Cochrane Collaboration , an international organization that helps people make well-informed decisions about healthcare and health policy by preparing and maintaining high quality systematic reviews

Evidence-based medicine

• The Cochran Collaboration (evidence-based healthcare databases)
• Evidence-based health care and systematic reviews (The Cochrane Collaboration). "Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health."
• Webliography of resources for evidence-based health care (Cochran Collaboration links to books, articles, and online resources (sorted by specialty); databases offering online access to medical evidence; journals (etc.); medical news reviews (assessing the accuracy and quality of news reporting); patient resources; tutorials and tools; and social media resources.
• Cochran Summaries (information to help you make choices about health care)
• Epidemiology 101, Julie Buring's talk, video, in three parts, from Day 1 of Knight Science Journalism's popular Medical Evidence Boot Camp.
Sense About Science (charitable trust in UK, promoting good science and evidence for the public, partly by responding to misrepresentations about science)
• Medicaid Evidence Based Decisions Project (MED) (a self governing collaboration of state Medicaid agencies and their partners--its mission: to provide policymakers with the tools and resources they need to make evidence-based decisions. (Includes links to reports.)
• Centre for Evidence-Based medicine, provides education and training, and through its blog, articles and opinions for the public. See for example The Double-Edged Sword of the Evidence-Based Medicine Renaissance.

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CONSORT statement. Guidelines in the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) statement are used worldwide to improve the transparent reporting of randomized, controlled trials.

Convert Me (various online conversion charts)

Cool/​nifty versus funny-smelling/​fishy stories: Why we need both kinds (David Dobbs, Neuron Culture, Wired, 3-16-10)

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Covering Health Reform, Medicare, Medicaid,
and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)


Covering Health Issues (6th edition, 2011 update, free PDF download). This 200-page book presents concise information on health policy issues, lists expert sources from across the political spectrum, and includes an extensive glossary, ideas and examples for TV and radio reporters, and links to polls on health issues. Chapter contents: Health reform, cost of health care, quality of care, employer-sponsored health coverage, children's health coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care, disparities, mental health and substance abuse, public health, polls on health care issues, covering health issues for TV and radio, acronyms and glossary). Julie Rovner demonstrates how to use it (YouTube video). Reporters may find pages of links to organizations and experts particularly helpful. (7th edition available November 2013)
• Find affordable Medicare plans, by state (eHealth)
• The Affordable Care Act (ACA) , links to many helpful articles about Obamacare
• Medicaid and State Children''s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, Kaiser's useful website)
• State Health Facts, in several categories, by state (Kaiser Family Foundation--including information about Medicaid and CHIP)
• Medicaid Fact Sheets (by state, American Academy of Pediatrics)
• How one reporting team used public records to find questionable Medicare Advantage spending (Fred Schulte, Association of Health Care Journalists, AHCJ, 7-21-14). There's "there’s a lot federal officials don’t want the public to see when it comes to Medicare Advantage, a type of Medicare plan administered by private insurance companies." Schulte lists sources used in learning the flaw in Medicare's system of paying more for high-risk patients than for low-risk patients: health plans overstate how sick patients are to collect more money. See also Cracking the Codes:How doctors and hospitals have collected billions in questionable Medicare fees (Schulte and David Donald, Center for Public Integrity 9-15-12) on "how some medical professionals have billed at sharply higher rates than their peers and collected billions of dollars of questionable fees as a result."
• Covering the Uninsured: Options for Reform (Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, 9-15-08)
• Health Policy Basics (essential information about Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance & the uninsured, CHIP, the Safety Net, pharmaceuticals, public health, aging & long-term care, and workforce issues, in a variety of formats, from the National Health Policy Forum)
• Patient Advocacy in Patient Safety: Have Things Changed? (Helen Haskell, Perspective, June 2014, AHRQ, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). An important historical overview of patient safety efforts.
• Health Policy Reform: Beyond the 2008 Elections (The Commonwealth Fund), appeared originally in the Columbia Journalism Review
• New Analysis of Health Insurance Premium Trends in the Individual Market Finds Average Yearly Increases of 10 Percent or More Prior to the Affordable Care Act (The Commonwealth Fund, June 5, 2014) New Data Set Standard for Comparing This Year's Premiums in State and Federal Health Insurance Marketplaces
• The Employer Mandate: Essential or Dispensable? (David Blumenthal, M.D. and David Squires, Commonwealth Fund blog, 6-4-14)
• Residents in the ACA's Nonparticipating States Still Benefiting (David Blumenthal, M.D. and David Squires, Commonwealth Fund blog, 5-28-14)
• Growth and Variability in Health Plan Premiums in the Individual Insurance Market Before the Affordable Care Act
• The Federal Medical Loss Ratio Rule: Implications for Consumers in Year 2 (Commonwealth Fund)
• Despite ‘essential’ designation, dental benefits lacking under ACA (Mary Otto, AHCJ, Covering Health, 4-30-14)
• What early numbers tell us about kids’ dental coverage under ACA (Mary Otto, AHCJ, Covering Health, 4-16-14)
• A closer look: Did the ACA result in more canceled plans? (Joanne Kenen, AHCJ, Covering Health, 4-29-14)
• Questions remain despite latest ACA enrollment numbers, projections (Joanne Kenen, AHCJ, Covering Health, 2-20-14)
• Looking ahead to new ACA enrollment numbers (Joanne Kenen, AHCJ, Covering Health, 5-1-14)
• Texas poses challenges for insurance enrollment under ACA (Joanne Kenen, AHCJ, Covering Health, 7-26-13)
• Tips from Texas for covering Medicaid fraud, overtreatment (Mary Otto, AHCJ, Covering Health, 6-5-14)
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Degree programs in science writing
• Boston University, Science Journalism. Here is their FAQs page.
• MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing (a one-year Master's degree program). Here's Scope (the program's student publication)
• NYU Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) (New York University, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute) Who We Are: Storytellers with a Passion for Science. What We Do: A Customized Curriculum, a Hands-On Approach. Where We Work: NYC, the World Capital of Science Journalism.
• University of California at Santa Cruz (Science Communication Program)
• Program on Hiatus (Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, 5-3-13). "The Hopkins science writing program was always an odd fit for the institution, Finkbeiner said -- not that it contradicted the research university’s mission, but because it was housed alongside a master of fine arts program in fiction and poetry in the writing seminars department. It also relied wholly on part-time employees and adjunct instructors....Programs that exist independently seem to be faring worse than those that can draw on the resources of a full-fledged journalism school."
• Johns Hopkins Graduate Science Writing Program to Close (Michael Price, Science, 5-1-13)
• Columbia Suspends Environmental Journalism Program (Curtis Brainard, CJR, 10-19-09). Falling employment, rising education costs to blame. "Although our graduates have done well in their careers, even those still employed are finding few opportunities to do the kind of substantive reporting for which the dual degree program has trained them, as they scramble to do their own work plus that of laid-off colleagues. "

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Directory of thousands of open access, peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journals (which do not charge readers or their institutions for access), with link to journals' websites.

Does it pay to know your Myers-Briggs type? (Washington Post graphic on the various Myers-Briggs types). Corporate America, the government and universities think so. They spend millions of dollars each year giving workers and students the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test (based on Carl Jung’s work in psychological typology) to steer training programs and career goals. This graphic shows the 16 types and explains them in context of the Myers-Briggs philosophy. Here's the interesting companion article by Lillian Cunningham (Washington Post, 12-14-12)

Embargoes and more: How to get my attention (and attention from other journalists) in a wired world (Ivan Oransky's tips at a Council of Science Editors meeting, 2011), which leads to Oransky's interesting explanation and criticism of the Ingelfinger Rule ("the policy by which journals refuse to publish anything that’s appeared in the mainstream press or in other journals" though they still publish authors who self-plagiarize).

Embargo on press releases, rationale for (PLoS). Breaking an embargo is a journalistic no-no, with good reason.

Equipment and Software for Medical Writers (PDF, a compilation of collective wisdom from subscribers to The Hittlist). Emma Hitt teaches a six-week course in medical writing.

EurekAlert. Science news that's just a click away. Portals for the public, reporters, and embargoes news; a resource for reporters,a tool for public information officers (PIOs). A public service project of the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science. EurekAlert Links & Resources

European Guide to Science Journalism Training (2010)

Evaluating an Assertion (Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth, CECS)

The Fallacy Files (analysis of various logical fallacies)

FAQ for new and aspiring science writers (National Association of Science Writers)

**A Field Guide for Science Writers: The Official Guide of the National Association of Science Writers, edited by Deborah Blum, Mary Knudson, and Robin Marantz Henig

‘The Finkbeiner Test’ (Curtis Brainard, CJR, 3-22-13) Seven rules to avoid gratuitous gender profiles of female scientists

The Future of Science Journalism, audio-recorded talks from a Knight-sponsored two-day symposium in Cambridge on where the field is heading.


Ghostwriting, medical writing, and medical publications. Medical writers who collaborate with scientists are often viewed as ghostwriters. Discussions of the ethics and practical realities of medical writing include the following:
• The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold “HRT” (Adriane J. Fugh-Berman, PLoS Med 7(9): e1000335, 9-7-10). Read the response by Adam Jacobs of the European Medical Writers Association.
• Ghost Management: How Much of the Medical Literature Is Shaped Behind the Scenes by the Pharmaceutical Industry? (Sergio Sismondo, PLoS Med 4(9): e286, 9-25-07)
• Revealed: how drug firms 'hoodwink' medical journals (Antony Barnett, The Observer, 12-7-03). Pharmaceutical giants hire ghostwriters to produce articles - then put doctors' names on them
• Evidence in Vioxx Suits Shows Intervention by Merck Officials (Alex Berenson, NY Times, 4-24-05)
• Good Publication Practice for Pharmaceutical Companies Guidelines (Envision Pharma, 2006)
Here's a fuller set of links to articles on medical ghostwriting, in a section on Collaboration and ghostwriting



Healthcare Hashtag Project . Discover where the healthcare conversations on Twitter are taking place, discover who to follow within your specialty or disease or on a specific topic, and find the best from conferences or moderated chats in real time or in archives (for example, there are lively discussions at #eldercarechat and there is a whole page on breast cancer hashtags). See
• Hashtags by disease
• Hashtags by conference

• HealthNewsReview.org rates health and medical news stories (about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures) for accuracy, balance, and completeness -- helping consumers critically analyze claims about health care interventions
• HNR's important review criteria, explained (for example, Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention? Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/​test/​product/​procedure? Does the story adequately explain/​quantify the harms of the intervention? Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence? Does the story commit disease-mongering? etc. (10 criteria explained).
• Tips for understanding studies
• Story Reviews - Systematic, Criteria-Driven
• Industry-Independent Experts Journalists Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer's list of more than 100 independent health care experts (meaning they do not have financial ties to drug or medical device manufacturers) to whom reporters can turn
• Covering Medical Research (by HealthNewsReview.org publisher Gary Schwitzer; published by the Association of Health Care Journalists)
• Links to other resources
• Health News Watchdog blog (publisher's perspective, opinion--different from the systematic story reviews).
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How many interviews? (Jeanne Erdmann, Ask TON, TheOPENNotebook, 7-16-13)

How health statistics can mislead (Andrew Van Dam, Covering Health, AHCJ, 12-9-09)

How Much Should I Charge? (Writers and Editors)

How to break into science writing using your blog and social media (Bora Zivkovic, The SA Incubator, The next generation of science writers and journalists.Scientific American, 4-2-13). Excellent advice for aspiring science writers.

How to Research the Medical Literature About Cancer (how to use databases and online resources); How to access Medline and other medical databases,, and How to get basic information about your cancer online

How to get your start in science writing, Ed Yong gathered responses to that question from 145 science writers; they were published in Discover Magazine as On the Origin of Science Writers

H2ODotCon (water related pseudoscience fantasy and quackery, sorting legitimate claims about water from claims that various kinds of water reverse aging, prevent cancer, etc.)

Human Body Maps (HealthLine interactive online tool)

The Humdrum Events of Modern Medicine's Underbelly: A Guided Tour (Abigail Zuger, MD, in NY Times, reviews White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine by Carl Elliott (the pharmaceutical industry, of course).

Humor among peer reviewers. Cιsar Sαnchez, in his blog Twisted Bacteria, quotes from the annual December issue of Environmental Microbiology, which features humorous quotes peer reviewers made while assessing manuscripts submitted to the journal.

ICJME Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly work in Medical Journals (International Committee of Medical Journal Editors). See also ICJME's Guiding Principles for the Development of Policies on Sharing Clinical Trials Data (January 2014)

Instructions to authors for over 6,000 journals in health and life sciences (Mulford Health Science Library, University of Toledo)

Knight Science Journalism Boot Camp

Knight Science Journalism 9-month fellowships, and FAQs about the fellowships

KSJ tracker , Knight Science Journalism's blog devoted to highlighting and critiquing the best (and sometimes worst) examples of journalism about science, technology, health, and the environment: "peer review within science journalism." Cutting back a bit, to reflect, in 2014: Saying Goodbye to the KSJ Tracker (Deborah Blum and Wade Roush, 8-14-14 -- and do read the many comments). Old entries will still be there.

The Laryngospasms, a group of certified registered nurse anesthetists, create and perform medical parodies (check the videos, including "Waking Up Is Hard to Do")

Making the leap from news to books: Critical questions (The Open Notebook--The story behind the best science stories). The questions that go into books might be different from those that drive newspaper and magazine journalism. With that in mind, Charles Quoi asked six successful science authors (Deborah Blum, David Dobbs, Matthew Hutson, Maggie Koerth-Baker, Maryn McKenna, and Carl Zimmer) what questions they have found themselves asking — of themselves or of their sources — when writing books. Are there essential questions that journalists might not ask but which book authors should? Interesting responses. And David Dobbs took the opportunity to write a piece for Wired: “How Full of Sh*t Are They?” and Other Questions Writers Ask (June 2012)

Mental health and substance abuse services
• Mental health services locator, by state (SAMHSA, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration)
• National Addiction Rehab Locator
• Find Support & Programs (NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness)
• Coping with chronic, rare, and invisible diseases and disorders (Dying, Surviving, and Aging with Grace--not in that order)
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Medical conferences journalists might want to cover:
• How to Find Medical Conferences (Bob Finn's links). Finn shows high ratings for three of the listings he links to:
• Doctor's Guide
• Doctor's Review
• Clocate (Conferencelocate.com)
• Excellent but Little-Known Medical Conferences (also Bob Finn, on his Medical Conference Blog, an opinionated, occasionally cranky, occasionally snarky blog on medical meetings from the viewpoint of a medical journalist)
• Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare conference listings
• Tips for covering scientific conferences (Mark Taylor, Association of Health Care Journalists). For members only.
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Money talks: when the borders between adverts and editorial content merge (Katherine Staines, Association of British Science Writers, 5-31-11)

Mosaic Magazine (an archive of articles published by the National Science Foundation's flagship magazine, 1970-92) and Like a Phoenix (Earle Holland's "On Research" blog about that period of rich science writing)

Narrative structure in science and medical writing


• Story Time (Rose Jacobs, Chronicle of Higher Education blog, 6-6-14). The traditional "nut graf" structure didn't help her engineering student write coherently, so 'I’ve been doing with my student what I did with those journalists: Demanding a narrative structure—stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end; stories with five Shakespearean acts; stories whose main points are made two-thirds of the way through—not in the first three paragraphs. Stories, in other words, with a structure we learn in childhood and that remains familiar throughout our lives....Research papers tell great stories—movements from what we used to know to what we know now and, in the middle, how we learned it. They’re plays in three acts where the subject is discovery."
• Telling science stories…wait, what’s a “story”? (Bora Zivkovic, A Blog Around the Clock, 7-13-11). " In the Inverted Pyramid approach to journalism, the first couple of sentences (the “lede”) provide the next most important information, and so on, with the least important stuff at the end. In many ways, it is the opposite of a narrative – the punch-line goes first, the build-up after. The beauty of the Inverted Pyramid for the writers and editors is that any article can be chopped up and made shorter....You can’t do that with a narrative, where clues can be hidden all along the way, and the grand solution comes close to the end."
• Explaining Science (Gerard Piel, reported by Norman Bauman on his website -- December 2001.) Do a search and find this piece way down on the web page. "The narrative is the way to do exposition," said Piel. "That's the most painless way to explain." And Scientific American, of which he was the retired publisher, was "in the business of understanding, not information."
• Natural Narratives by Michael Pollan (Nieman Storyboard 2-16-07: Seven principles for writing about nature and science in ways that depart from the usual)
• Narrative Matters: The Power of the Personal Essay in Health Policy ed. by Fitzhugh Mullan, Ellen Ficken, and Kyna Rubin (a collection of personal stories of patients, physicians, policy makers, and others whose writings humanize health policy issues, drawn from the popular "Narrative Matters" column in the journal Health Affairs.
• Science & Story: The Art of Communicating Science Across All Media . at the World Science Festival in New York City, there was an entire day devoted to science story-telling, Presented in collaboration with the Paley Center for Media. Much material here and on the World Science Festival blog . See also some webcasts.
• Penny Bailey on science writing: 'You need to know how to tell a good story'
• The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains (Leo Widrich, Lifehacker, 12-5-12)
Narrative Medicine. Narrative Medicine workshops provide narrative training with stories of illness to enable "practitioners to comprehend patients’ experiences and to understand what they themselves undergo as clinicians." Here is a pageful of links to podcasts of Narrative Medicine Rounds, lectures or readings presented by scholars, clinicians, or writers engaged in work at the interface between narrative and health care. Rounds are held on the first Wednesday of each month from 5 to 6:30 pm in the Columbia University Medical Center Faculty Club, followed by a reception. Rounds are free and open to the public. Elisabeth Pozzi-Thanner of Oral History Productions took and recommends an excellent intensive four-day workshop on Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. And here are some books on the subject: Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness by Rita Charon; Narrative Medicine: The Use of History and Story in the Healing Process by Lewis Mehl-Medrona author of Coyote Wisdom: Healing Power in Native American Stories ; Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine, ed. Peter L. Rudnytsky and Rita Charon.
Narrative medicine and medical narrative (blogs, books, and other wonderful material on the subject--Pat McNees's links)
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National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF)

National Health Policy Forum (NHPF) at George Washington University

National Library of Medicine (excellent links to health and medical information and databases), National Institutes of Health

Nature podcasts. Each week Nature publishes a free audio show. Listen online to the archived podcasts

Nature vs. Science (Tales from the Road PhD Comic on the rivalry between the two magazines, part 2) and Part 1,, by Jorge Cham

Next generation of science media: Where's the money? (Andy Extance reports on an interesting meeting of the Association of British Science Writers, 5-22-11)

***News and Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields by Victor Cohn and Lewis Cope

Newswise Theme Wires Calendar. Professional journalists can sign up to receive Newswise news alerts, access to embargoed news, and contact info for expert sources. There is a Daily Wire, a Science Wire, a Medical Wire, a Life Wire, and a Business Wire.

NIH Research. CRISP replaced by NIH RePORTer (NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting), a searchable database on federally funded biomedical research projects and programs. News updates here.

Online resources for science writers (National Association of Science Writers). This led me, for example, to Use Search Operators To Find Stories, Sources and Documents Online (Meranda Watling, 10,000 Words, Media Bistro 4-19-11)

Open access journals
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Directory of thousands of open access, peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journals (which do not charge readers or their institutions for access), with link to journals' websites.
PLoS--Public Library of Science (open access documents)
• Open Journal Systems (Public Knowledge Project, a multi-university initiative developing (free) open source software and conducting research to improve the quality and reach of scholarly publishing)

The Open Notebook (the stories behind the best science stories). Great material for science writers. See, for example, behind-the-story interviews , elements of craft, natural habitat (where science writers share their working spaces -- offices, spare bedrooms, coffee shops, hammocks -- and the accoutrements that help them do their work), and other resources. I particularly liked Robin Marantz Henig's account of writing about anxiety for the New York Times Magazine., one of many interesting Open Notebook interviews about the writing process , the stories behind the stories.

Our Cluttered Mind, Jonah Lehrer's review (NYTimes 5-27-10) of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, who wrote Is Google Making Us Stupid? for The Atlantic (July/​August 2008).

PepsiGate linkfest (Bora Zivkovic, on A Blog Around the Clock, posts links to all key posts about the event). David Disalvo writes about it in PepsiGate’ Rocks the Science Blogging World (TrueSlant 7-8-10). Roughly: SEED magazine, owner of the well-regarded ScienceBlogs network, "decided to allow Pepsi to have its own blog on the network, called 'Food Frontiers'–which, of course, they would pay for, not unlike a block of continuous advertising space. Many bloggers at ScienceBlogs are not happy about this. The standard for any credible science journalism network is that writers earn their space on merit, not because they have products to pitch."

Pigasus Award, annual tongue-in-cheek awards (dubious awards for dubious claims)presented as 5 Worst Promoters of Nonsense by noted skeptic James Randi to expose parapsychological, paranormal or psychic frauds

PHIL (Public Health Image Library), an organized, universal electronic gateway to CDC's images "organized into hierarchical categories of people, places, and science" and "presented as single images, image sets, and multimedia files" for use by "public health professionals, the media, laboratory scientists, educators, students, and the worldwide public to use this material for reference, teaching, presentation, and public health messages."

****Pitch Database (TheOPENNotebook)

PLoS--Public Library of Science (open access documents)

Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors (Steve Silberman, PLoS blog, 6-2-11) With wonderfuil tips from Carl Zimmer, David Shenk, Cory Doctorow, Bill Wasik, Geoff Manaugh, Mark Frauenfelder, Deborah Blum, August Kleinzahler, Ben Casnocha, Barry Boyce, Peter Conners, David Crosby, Paula Span, Rudy Simone, John Schwartz, Sylvia Boorstein, David Gans, Josh Shenk, John Tarrant, Jonah Lehrer, Seth Mnookin, Maryn McKenna, Anonymous, and 255 responses

ProMED (email warnings of infectious diseases)

PubMed (database of 21 million citations for medical research from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Here is a PubMed Tutorial (on how to narrow your search etc.). And here is a story about a problem NLM needs to address: Something’s Rotten in Bethesda — The Troubling Tale of PubMed Central, PubMed, and eLife (Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, 10-22-12). The National Library of Medicine should manage NCBI and PMC more conscientiously, and make them stop competing with publishers and technology companies.

Pulse: voices from the heart of medicine (personal accounts of illness and healing, fostering the humanistic practice of medicine, encouraging health care advocacy). See Pulse's archive of poems and stories.

Quackwatch (about, and against, complementary and alternative medicine)

Reporting on Health (articles and fellowships from California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships)

Reporting on Suicide website. Download PDF of Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide (PDF, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)

Resources for health care journalists (links to general and specialized sites, for the Association of Health Care Journalists)

Resources for covering swine flu, pandemics and preparedness (one of several AHCJ tip sheets for journalists)

Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky track retractions as a window into the scientific process)

Richard Feynman explains the scientific method in 1964 lecture (video of this delightful scientist's explanation of what makes something scientific)

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (excellent data and human resources on health policy and public health)

Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop

Scholarly Work, Without All the Footnotes (Arthur S. Brisbane, The Public Editor, NY Times, 10-2-10), on how a dispute about a Times Magazine article, Does Your Language Shape How You Think? by linguist Guy Deutscher, illustrates the differences between academic publishing and the popular press. Mainly: less credit to sources--and why not post those online?

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Blogs and news for medical and science writers

• Aetiology (Sb, Scienceblogs) discussing causes, origins, evolution and implications of disease and other phenomenon)
• AGU blogs (American Geophysical Union's excellent community of earth and space science blogs)
• AMA Style Insider
• Autism News Beat (an evidence-based resource for journalists)
• Best 50 Medical Technology Blogs (Forensic Science)
• Better Health
• Black Triangle , Posts for which are still there, but it has morphed to Anthony Cox (pharmacist academic)
• A Blog Around the Clock
• Covering Health (Association of Health Care Journalists, with excellent links to health beats in newspapers, blogs, etc.)
• CJR's The Observatory (a lens on the science press)
• Correcting the AIDS Lies (AIDS dissent is largely based on misinformation and misunderstanding--collating all relevant facts so that no one need die of ignorance)
• DC's Improbable Science (truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science)
• Denialism blog (Mark Hoofnagle, Science Blogs). Don't mistake denialism for debate.
• The Doctor Blog (ZocDoc)
• Dr. Len's Cancer Blog
• DoubleXScience, bringing science to the woman in you, whoever she is, whatever she does. Sections: biology, book reviews, chemistry, health, mental illness, notable women, pregnancy, physics, pregnancy 101, science education, everything else. Sample: The Girls of Atomic City (book review by Chris Gunter) The unbelievable true story of young women during World War II who worked in a secret city dedicated to making fuel for the first atomic bomb—only they didn’t know that.
• Embargo Watch (Ivan Oransky, keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage)
• Engaging the Patient
• Forensic Science Technician blog
• Freelance Medical Writing
• Gastropod (looks at food through the lens of science and history)
• Health (The Atlantic blogs on body, family, food, mind, public, sex)
• Health Beat (Maggie Mahar) Health Articles, Nutritional Facts, and Fitness Tips
• Health News Watchdog blog (Gary Schwitzer's excellent blog, offering perspective and opinion). See also HealthNewsReview.org's Story Reviews (systematic, criteria-driven critiques of news stories and other media messages that may affect the public dialogue about health care).
• Grand Rounds, a weekly summary of the best health blog posts on the Internet, available at Better Health and at Blogborygmi.com
• The Health Care Blog
• HealthCare 100 (global ranking of top English-language health blogs, per eDrugSearch, a site devoted to consumers being able to buy drugs online)
• Health Care Renewal Addressing threats to health care's core values, especially those stemming from concentration and abuse of power. Advocating for accountability, integrity, transparency, honesty and ethics in leadership and governance of health care.
• Health News Blogs (Association of Health Care Journalists blogroll)
• Health News Watchdog
• In the Pipeline
• Kaiser Health News (KHN, an editorially independent news organization dedicated to providing high-quality coverage of health care policy and politics)
• Karmanos Conquers Cancer
• KevinMD (physicians' voices)
• Knight Science Journalism Tracker (MIT blog, various authors, including Deborah Blum, Faye Flam, Paul Raeburn, Hanno Charisius, Phil Hilts, Boyce Rensberger, Pere Estupinya,
Charlie Petit)
• MedCityNews (business of innovation in healthcare)
• medGadget (emerging medical technologies)
• A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine, Health Care, and the Writing Life (Debra Gordon)
• Medical Writing Industry (blog for medical writers and editors in the pharmaceutical industry)
• Medical Writing, Editing and Grantsmanship
• Medscape blogs
• Med Student's t-Test (a medical/​graduate student's musings on medicine and science, with occasional rants about quackery)
• Musings of a Distractible Mind (Dr. Rob Lambert)
• National Association of Science Writers (NASW)
• Nature.com blogs
• Neurologica your daily fix of neuroscience, skepticism, and analytical thinking)
• The New York Times Health News
• Notes from Dr. RW (hospital resources and more)
• Only Human (Virginia Hughes, National Geographic)
••••The Open Notebook (the story behind the best science stories). Great material. See for example behind-the-story interviews , elements of craft, natural habitat (where science writers share their working spaces -- offices, spare bedrooms, coffee shops, hammocks -- and the accoutrements that help them do their work), and other resources.
• Patient POV (Laura Newman)
• Pharmed Out (Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman), an independent, publicly funded project that empowers physicians to identify and counter inappropriate pharmaceutical promotion practices.
• Phenomena (a science salon hosted by National Geographic)
• PLoS blogs (Public Library of Science)
• Prepared Patient (Center for Advancing Health)
• The ProPublica Nerd Blog, a place to talk about what programmer-journalists at ProPublica are working on, announce newly-launched news applications, and to hear from technically-minded readers, as well as our fellow nerdy journalists. A sample project: Treatment Tracker: The Doctors and Services in Medicare Part B
• Pulse (voices from the heart of medicine -- personal accounts of illness and healing)
• TedMed
• The Quackometer (debunking quack medicine)
• The reluctant geoengineer (Matt Watson, who came to my attention through NPR story Turning to Scientists to Engineer a Cooler Climate (All Things Considered 10-20-13).
• Respectful Insolence (a.k.a. "Orac knows, ScienceBlogs). Against quackery etc.
• Reporting on Health blogs (California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, about blogging, health journalism, and storytelling)
--William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories
--The Reporting on Health Daily Briefing
-- Doc Gurley's Urban Health Beat (practicing medicine on the margins of society, and what we can learn from it)
• Retraction Watch (Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process)
• Research Blogging (reports on peer-reviewed research)
• Retraction Watch , founded and run by Ivan Oransky, the executive editor at Reuters Health, and Adam Marcus, the managing editor of Anesthesiology News, on which they track the retraction of scientific papers (to help make public research fraud, made-up data, and erroneous or false research)
• Robert Wood Johnson blogs
• Rubor, Dolor, Calor, Tumor (Mark Crislip practices in infectious diseases)
• Science-Based Medicine (blog exploring issues and controversies in science and medicine, including dubious medical, nutritional, and related approaches to medical diagnosis, treatment, etc.). Along the same lines see excellent page of links to medical blogs, medical sites, recommended sites, and skeptical and science blogs
• Science-based pharmacy (turning an eye on the profession, separating fact from fiction on both sides of the counter)
• Science Blogs (The Guardian)
• Science Blogs
• Science blogs (Wired)
• Scientific American blogs
• Singularity Hub
• Terra Sigillata (about medicinal agents, not all of which are drugs)
• Science careers blog (Science, various contributors)
• Science Daily
• Science Online (Conversation, Community, & Connections at the Intersection of Science & the Web)
• Science Roll (Dr Bertalan Meskσ's journey in Genetics PHD and medicine through Web 2.0--medical education, medical technology, e-learning and virtual medicine)
• Scientific American blogs (by latest blog posts) and Scientific American blog network (with links to blogs in categories: MIND blogs, From Our Network. For example: Anthropology in Practice, The Artful Amoeba , History of Geology, and The Primate Diaries
• Science Seeker (science news from science newsmakers)
• Secrets of Good Science Writing (excellent Guardian blog, in honor of the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize , sponsored by the Guardian and the Observer).
• Shrink Rap (for psychiatrists by psychiatrists) and now a book: Shrink Rap: Three Psychiatrists Explain Their Work by Dinah Miller, Annette Hanson, and Steven Roy Daviss. Listen to them interviewed on Talk of the Nation (NPR)
• Skeptical Scalpel
• Speaking of Medicine (PLOS Medical Journals' community blog)
• TED Blog
• This May Hurt a Bit (Shara Yurkiewicz, Scientific American, The intuitions, insights, and growing pains of a medical student)
• Top 50 Public Health Blogs (The Science of Health blog, 1-13-10)
• Top 25 Forensic Science Blogs of 2012 (editors, Top Criminal Justice Degrees blog, 1-31-13)
• The Vaccine Times
• Vital Signs (Salon.com blog in defense of science-based health care)
• White Coat Underground (doctoring in real life)
• Women and Science Blogging (Daniel Lende, Neuranthropology, PLoS blog, 1-27-11) Which refers us to Even when we want something, we need to hide it (Kate Clancy, Context and Variation) and I’ve never been very good at hiding (Christie Wilcox, Observations of a Nerd).
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• Embargoes Master List (Robin Lloyd, Third Turn)

Science as Falsification (Sir Karl R. Popper, excerpt from Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge--something on the philosophy of science that my godson recommends. You can listen to Popper explaining the same thing on YouTube. And here's Wikipedia's summary of Popper's claim to solve the philosophical problem of induction.

Science as a journalism ghetto: Conversation with Dan Vergano: the Science Ghetto with Ann Finkbeiner. Do check out the comments. An important and interesting conversation about why science doesn't have a higher seat at the journalism table.

Science careers blog (Science, various contributors)

Science Daily (news digests on a range of topics)

Science Friday (Ira Flatow's fascinating radio show--"making science radioactive"TM -- listen live (Fridays 2 to 4 EDT) or to archived shows)

Science in Society Journalism Awards

Scienceline (a a student-run online magazine published by NYU's science, health, and environmental reporting program, SHERP).

Science Podcasts (Science Magazine, with archives from 2005 on) href="http://www.sciseek.com/"target="_blank">Sciseek (science search engine and directory)

Science writer is quite the specimen himself: He's 94 (Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times, 2-21-13). The San Francisco Chronicle's David Perlman churned out 111 stories last year and is still going strong. Not bad for someone born before the discovery of penicillin and Pluto.

Secrets of Good Science Writing (excellent Guardian blog, in honor of the Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize , sponsored by the Guardian and the Observer). A mere selection, from more than 50 blog entries:
• David Dobbs on science writing: 'hung down jargon and kill it' (David Dobbs, The Guardian, 4-19-13)
• Mo Costandi on science blogging ('You've nothing to lose')
• Mo Costandi on science writing: a good story conveys wonderment (4-22-13)
Jacob Aron on science writing: 'Analogies are like forklift trucks'
• Michael Hanlon on science writing: 'You need a bullshit detector'
• Linda Geddes on science writing: 'There is always another side to the story'
• Geoff Brumfiel on science writing: 'Search out the voices you disagree with'
• Helen Pearson on science writing: 'Surprise me!'
• Penny Bailey on science writing: 'You need to know how to tell a good story'
• Roger Highfield on science writing: 'Grab them with your first sentence'
• Louisa Young: 'You can't go mucking about with science' (video)
• Jo Marchant on science writing: 'You need a burning curiosity'
• Tim Radford on science writing: 'Don't be afraid to ask simple questions'
• A voyage of discovery: how the best science writers keep you enthralled (Ed Yong) Rather than being laden from the outset with jargon, good writing will draw readers in and reward them for their attention.

So you want to be a science writer (PDF file, Association of British Science Writers)

Starting a Career in Science Writing (Andrew Fazekas, Jim Austin, Science, 5-20-05, replete with links to similarly useful articles)

STATS (examining how numbers are distorted and statistics are misunderstood in the media and in society)

Survival Secrets for Freelance Science Writers (Andrew Fazekas, Science, 5-20-05)

Spellex (test your medical spelling aptitude)

Technical writers, which skill sets are important for (Writing Assistance, Inc.). See also
• How technical writers add value to your team
• Technical writers as subject matter experts
• Technical writers are communicators
"
10 Questions To Distinguish Real From Fake Science (Emily Willingham, who writes about the science they're selling you, for Forbes, 11-8-12 -- read the comments, too). Originally published on Double X Science

Tip sheets for health care journalists and experts (available only to members of the Association of Health Care Journalists). Tip sheet topics include Statistical errors even you can find, What you need to know about risks, rates and ratios, Medicine 101: Words, numbers and journals, Resources for covering mental health and the military, Sources and resources for journalists covering aging, Digging into hospital finances, Domestic violence, budgets and the economy, Problems faced by ethnic minorities, Investigating health care fraud, How well does your state oversee nurses, many more -- great resources!

Tipsheet: For Reporting on Drugs, Devices and Medical Technologies (The Commonwealth Fund)

Tips for Understanding Studies (HealthNewsReview.org). Highly recommended: Covering Medical Research: A Guide for Reporting on Studies by Gary Schwitzer, one of several Slim Guides published by the Association of Health Care Journalists. (Other slim guides: "Covering the Health of Local Nursing Homes," "Navigating the CDC: A Journalist's Guide to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web Site," "Covering Obesity: A Guide for Reporters," and "Covering Hospitals: Using Tools on the Web."

Tips on scientific writing from European Science Editors, on Sharmanedit, drawn from EASE Guidelines for Authors and Translators of Scientific Articles to be Published in English (PDF, June 2011)

Toolkit for New Medical Writers (free and online resources and guidance, for both scientific medical writing and medical marketing writing), Delaware Valley chapter, American Medical Writers Association

Top Science Writers Lists
By no means perfect as lists, these will at least lead you to some good reading
• Twenty-First Century Science Writers (The Top Tens)
• Ten or More Twenty-First Century Science Communicators of Various Forms Who Are Really Good, All of Whom Happen to be Women (Sean Carroll)
• The 50 best science writers of all time(OnlineCollege.org)
• Best American Science Writers (Joel Achenbach, Achenblog, Washington Post, 4-4-12)
• 100 All-Time Greatest Popular Science Books (and 17 More) (Open Education Database)
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Training peer reviewers (David A. Mackey, NatureJobs.com)

The Truth Wears Off (Jonah Lehrer, Annals of Science, New Yorker, 12-13-10). Is there something wrong with the scientific method? The "decline effect": The decline of significance in positive results from clinical trials -- results that are rigorously proved and accepted -- start shrinking in later studies. This can be explained by selective reporting, regression to the mean, and positive publication bias. "Our beliefs are a form of blindness," writes Lehrer (e.g., results from trials on acupuncture are more positive in Asia than in the West). Early termination of trials that show a positive result could also enshrine a statistical fluke, adds one reader.

Twitter lists for medical/​science editors (KOK Edit). Save time and sign up to follow the tweeters on Katharine O'Moore-Klopf's lists of good Twitter feeds. By category: Health and medicine, news media, science resources, scientists, freelancing resources, and edit-Long-Islanders.

What is a technical writer? How do I become a technical communicator? How do I get into this field without any experience? What are some good reference books? How much are technical communicators paid? How can I find a job in technical communication? I have a degree in English—what can I do with it? Q&As from the DC-Baltimore chapter of the Society for Technical Communication

What is the difference between a certificate and certification? (Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society--scroll down for explanation).

Writing a Literature Review by Allyson Skene, The Writing Centre, University of Toronto at Scarborough (PDF)


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Books for Science and Medical Writers
Download the Universe (founded by Carl Zimmer, this new science e-book review site will lead you to what's hot in the science e-book universe, as reviewed by good science writers). Meanwhile, here are a few titles that may belong on your bookshelf.

• Alliance for Health Reform, Covering Health Issues (download free online)
• Avorn, Jerry. Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks and Costs of Prescription Drugs
The Best American Science Writing (annual).
• Benson, Philippa J. and Susan C. Silver What Editors Want: An Author's Guide to Scientific Journal Publishing (University of Chicago Press)
• **Blum, Deborah; Mary Knudson, and Robin Marantz Henig. A Field Guide for Science Writers, 2nd edition (2005)
• **Cohn, Victor and Lewis Cope. News & Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields, 2nd edition
• Day, Robert, and Barbara Gastel. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper
• Deyo, Richard and Donald Patrick. Hope or Hype. This overview of medicine emphasizes how as a culture we promote new (especially high-tech) measures that are often less effective and more costly than old standards
• Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures
• Friedman, Sharon M., Sharon Dunwoody, and Carol Rogers, eds. Communicating Uncertainty: Media Coverage of New and Controversial Science
• Gastel, Barbara. Health Writer's Handbook
• Gawande, Atul. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science
• Gawande, Atul. Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance
• Greenberg, Daniel S. Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion
• Groopman, Jerome. How Doctors Think
• Groopman, Jerome. Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in the Changing World of Medicine
• Hall, George M.How to Write a Paper. Clear instructions on getting published in a biomedical journal.
• **Hancock, Elise. Ideas into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing
• Iles, Robert I. Guidebook to Better Medical Writing
• Institute of Medicine. To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Read free online.
• JAMA and the Archives Journals. AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors.Latest editions expands electronic guidelines.
• Kassirer, Jerome P. On the Take: How Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health
• Lang, Thomas A. and Michelle Secic. How to Report Statistics in Medicine: Annotated Guidelines for Authors, Editors, and Reviewers (American College of Physicians)
• Lang, Thomas A. How to Write, Publish, and Present in the Health Sciences: A Guide for Physicians and Laboratory Researchers
• Levi, Ragnar. Medical Journalism: Exposing Fact, Fiction, Fraud
• Manning, Phillip. Science Books (science books news and reviews)
• Monson, Nancy and Linda Peckel. Just What the Doctor Ordered: An Insider's Guide to Medical Writing
• Moynihan, Ray and Alan Cassels. Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are Turning Us All into Patients
• Mullan, Fitzhugh, Ellen Ficken, and Kyna Rubin, eds. Narrative Matters: The Power of the Personal Essay in Health Policy (collection of personal stories of patients, physicians, policy makers, and others whose writings humanize health policy issues, drawn from the popular "Narrative Matters" column in the journal Health Affairs.
• Nuland, Sherwin. How We Die and How We Live
• Park, Robert L. Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud
• Science Friday. Science books discussed on Science Friday
• The Scientist (the periodical).
• Stewart, James. Blind Eye: The Terrifying Story of a Doctor Who Got Away with Murder
• Veatch, Robert M. The Basics of Bioethics, 2nd ed.
• Woodford, F. Peter. How to Teach Scientific Communication (Council of Biology Editors, 1999). Helpful for teaching clinicians.
• Zeiger, Mimi. Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers (available as Kindle or in print).
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Medical and scientific images and illustrations (a partial list of sources)
•
AnatLine, National Library of Medicine's database of anatomical images, with online browser
• Anatquest (visually compelling ways to bring anatomic images,including 3D renderings and labeled views, from the Visible Human dataset to the general public (with no-cost license agreement).
• Doctor Stock (rights-managed medical and healthcare images)
• DPDx Parasite Image Library
• Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) , National Library of Medicine
• Library of Congress Prints & Photographs
• Medical Illustration Source Book (The Association of Medical Illustrators, with online portfolios)
over 1 million images and 2,000 hours of broadcast quality film footage.
• NASA Multimedia Video Gallery
• National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery
• Netter Images (medical illustrations)
• NIH Photo Galleries
• NOAA's Photo Library
• PHIL (CDC's Public Health Image Library)
• U.S. Department of Agriculture Image Gallery (Agricultural Research Service)
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library
• U.S. Geological Survey Multimedia Gallery
• The Visible Human Project (NLM)


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The truth about health care reform and health care policy


•
Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science by David H. Freedman (The Atlantic, Nov. 2010). "Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors--to a striking extent--still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science." On PLoS Medicine you can read Ioannidis's article, Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.
• Whitehouse.gov The eight basic consumer protections the White House wants health care reform to cover: (1) No discrimination for pre-existing conditions, (2) No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays, (3) No cost-sharing for preventive care, (4) No dropping of coverage if you become seriously ill, (5) No gender discrimination, (6) No annual or lifetime caps on coverage, (7) Extended coverage for young adults, (8) Guaranteed insurance renewal so long as premiums are paid. Learn more about these consumer protections at http:/​/​www.whitehouse.gov/​
• Excluded Voices. Trudy Lieberman's penetrating series of interviews on health care reform, in Columbia Journalism Review. Start with her interview with Wendell Potter, who "didn’t want to be part of another health insurance industry effort to shape reform that would benefit the industry at the expense of the public." You can also listen to Bill Moyers interview Potter or read the transcript and Potter's testimony before Congress.
• Alliance for Health Care Reform (this nonpartisan organization has excellent resource guides for reporters).
• Choosing to not have health insurance (J. Duncan Moore Jr., L.A.Times,9-21-09), though he may not have intended it, this is an argument for reform
• Mental health: why journalists don’t get help in the workplace (Megan Jones, Ryerson Review of Journalism Spring 2014). "Reporters are finally telling empathetic stories about depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, but newsroom culture keeps journalists’ own struggles in the dark." Find links to good articles about Suicide, suicide prevention, and suicide reporting here.
• C-Span's Health Care Hub is a good place to find various town hall discussions, hearings, wonderful links. C-Span, you're wonderful!
• The Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care (Atul Gawande, The New Yorker, 6-1-09)
• A consumer guide to handling disputes with your employer or private health plan, 2005 update, Kaiser Family Foundation
• C-Span's Health Care Hub is a good place to find various town hall discussions, hearings, wonderful links. C-Span, you're wonderful!
• DrSteveB's blogroll (helpful Daily Kos blogger--and check his blogroll for other resources)
• Find Help (HRSA links to free and inexpensive care)
• 5 Myths About Health Care Around the World by T.R. Reid (Washington Post, 8-23-09).
• Guaranteed Health Care (National Nurses Organizing Committee, California Nurses Association)
• The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T.R. Reid
• Health Affairs (the policy journal of the health sphere)
• HELP Is on the Way (Paul Krugman on why universal health coverage is affordable)
• Health Insurance Consumer Information (news you can use), with blogs that follow the health care debate and discuss news of health insurance coverage around the country, and a Consumer Guide for Getting and Keeping Health Insurance for each state and the District of Columbia. The American Cancer Society and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other organizations provide support for this research by The Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Worth checking out.
• Health Insurance Woes: My $22,000 Bill for Having a Baby (And I had coverage for maternity care! Sarah Wildman, DoubleX, 8-3-09). "Our insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, sold us exactly the type of flawed policy—riddled with holes and exceptions—that the health care reform bills in Congress should try to do away with. The “maternity” coverage we purchased didn’t cover my labor, delivery, or hospital stay. It was a sham."..."The individual insurance market is like that old joke about the food being terrible and the portions too small; it’s expensive, shoddy, and deeply unsatisfying. Those of us who buy into it are not protected by the federal and state laws that govern employer-based health care. In fact, there’s no one looking out for us at all."
• Insurers explore savings in overseas care: Major health firms offer doctor networks at lower rates in foreign countries. AP/​MSNBC story. ("more insurers are offering networks of surgeons and dentists in places like India and Costa Rica." "The four largest commercial U.S. health insurers — with enrollments totaling nearly 100 million people — have either launched pilot programs offering overseas travel or explored it....Growth has been slow in part because some patients and employers have concerns about care quality and legal responsibility if something goes wrong. Plus, patients who have traditional plans with low deductibles may have little incentive to take a trip.") This is the health insurance industry's approach to health care reform?
• Journalists, Left Out of The Debate: Few Americans Seem to Hear Health Care Facts. "For once, mainstream journalists did not retreat to the studied neutrality of quoting dueling antagonists," writes Howard Kurtz (Washington Post 8-24-09). "They tried to perform last rites on the ludicrous claim about President Obama's death panels, telling Sarah Palin, in effect, you've got to quit making things up. But it didn't matter. The story refused to die." As always, Kurtz provides an intelligent analysis of the situation, stating that "the healthy dose of coverage has largely failed to dispel many of the half-truths and exaggerations surrounding the debate. Even so, news organizations were slow to diagnose the depth of public unease about the unwieldy legislation. For the moment, the story, like the process itself, remains a muddle."
• Medical Science and Practice in Conflict (Kevin Sack, NYTimes, 11-20-09, on how the consumer public may see evidence-based medicine as a step toward rationing)
• Myths and Falsehoods on budget reconciliation (Media Matters, fighting conservative misinformation)
• The Pharmaceutical Industry: Angels or Demons? (Policy and Medicine reports a plea for less demonizing of the pharmaceutical industry)
• Physicians for a National Health Program (supports single-payer national health insurance)
• President's Question Time (Obama, Republicans spar in Q&A (Video of debate 1-29-10, plus Andrew Sullivan's commentary, Daily Dish)
• The Real Death Panels: Insurers Deny 22% of Claims (National Nurses Movement on Daily Kos, 9-3-09)
• Reach of Subsidies Is Critical Issue for Health Plan (Robert Pear, NY Times, 7-26-09—on another important issue: where the money comes from to cover the costs of the formerly uninsured)
• Science Blogs (Health)
• SurveyUSA News Poll on Health Care Data (showing public opinion on various aspects of the health care debate, by gender, race, party affiliation, ideology, level of college education, income,region, and age)
•• Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200 (FactCheck.Org, 8-28-09). A notorious analysis of the House health care bill contains 48 claims. Twenty-six of them are false and the rest mostly misleading. Only four are true.
• Why markets can’t cure healthcare by Paul Krugman (The Conscience of a Liberal, NY Times, 7-25-09).
You can watch Michael Moore's documentary, Sicko online. You can hear on Bill Moyers' interview with Wendell Potter how the insurance industry planned to defuse reactions to Moore's documentary. As Potter states: "The industry has always tried to make Americans think that government-run systems are the worst thing that could possibly happen to them, that if you even consider that, you're heading down on the slippery slope towards socialism. So they have used scare tactics for years and years and years, to keep that from happening. If there were a broader program like our Medicare program, it could potentially reduce the profits of these big companies. So that is their biggest concern." Potter himself says of the documentary, "I thought that he hit the nail on the head with his movie. But the industry, from the moment that the industry learned that Michael Moore was taking on the health care industry, it was really concerned."
T.R. Reid's conclusion in 5 Myths About Health Care Around the World:
"In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really 'foreign' to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die."


Godwin's Law: ""As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches"
~ Mike Godwin, creator of Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies, fearing glib use of the term will dilute the meaning of "Never Again"

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