Science and medical writing
• Resources for science and medical writers
• Books for science and medical writers
• Degree programs in science writing
• Seminars and workshops on science writing
• Medical and scientific images and illustrations (a partial list of sources)
• Blogs and news for medical and science writers
• On health care reform and health care policy
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 wonderful examples of better ways to tell a science story, check out Adding images, sound, story, humor.
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 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 Journalists Guide to the CDC Web Site. Plus issues of Health Beat, AHCJ's journal.
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
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
Google "science writing workshop" and you'll find some courses associated with colleges and universities.
Advance directives, living wills, Medicare, and other practical matters related to aging patients and end-of-life care
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.
All about Stories: How to Tell Them, How Theyre 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.
Alliance for Health Reform (excellent Web resources and they will help you find experts to interview)
Analytical writing for science & technology (T.M.Georges' online course, recommended by Sarah Wernick)
Better Ways to Pay for Health Care: A Primer on Healthcare Payment Reform (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
Scientific events calendars from around the world (Of schemes and memes blog, Nature, 10-18-11)
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
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)
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Index (CAM), dig deeply in this excellent University of Maryland site)
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)
Covering Health Issues, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid
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 Acadcmy of Pediatrics)
Covering the Uninsured: Options for Reform (Henry J. Kaiser Foundatio, 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)
Health Policy Reform: Beyond the 2008 Elections (The Commonwealth Fund), appeared originally in the Columbia Journalism Review
Current Awareness in Aging (CAAR), a weekly e-mail update, Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University ofWisconsin-Madison)
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 universitys 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 Jungs 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 thats 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.
Epidemiology 101, Julie Buring's talk, video, in three parts, from Day 1 of Knight Science Journalism's popular Medical Evidence Boot Camp.
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
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
FrameWorks Institute (Changing the public conversation about social problems such as health care reform)
The Future of Science Journalism, audio-recorded talks from a Knight-sponsored two-day symposium in Cambridge on where the field is heading.
Ghost Management: How Much of the Medical Literature Is Shaped Behind the Scenes by the Pharmaceutical Industry? by Sergio Sismondo (PLoS)
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
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
Health Care Reporting Guide for Journalists (Joanne Kenen, New American Foundation, 2008), free PDF file
Health, medical journalism courses flatlining despite healthcare overhaul (Curtis Brainard, CJR, 1-11-10)
HealthNewsReview.org (rates news stories about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures for accuracy, balance and completeness)
Health News Review's list of independent medical experts (with no ties to manufacturers of drugs or medical devices), list created by Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer
Helping doctors and patients make sense of health statistics (Gerd Gigerenzer and others, Psychological Science in the Public Interest), PDF
HIPAA (links to resources on how the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 affects historical research)
How to decide what's credible (a primer on critical reading, by Carl V. Phillips, Vegetarian Journal)
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.)
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.
Indexed of Banned Words, the continually updated edition (Carl Zimmer, Discover) -- cliches to avoid in science writing
Instructions to authors for over 6,000 journals in health and life sciences (Mulford Health Science Library, University of Toledo)
Kaiser Daily Reports (subscribe to free daily or weekly reports and digests -- podcasts, webcasts, and/or transcripts)
Knight Science Journalism Tracker (weekly compilations of model science articles, "peer review within science journalism")
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)
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:
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
Medical ghostwriting (as collaboration). See also, under ethics: Medical ghostwriting and ethical issues in medical publishing
**Medical Matrix (ranked, peer-reviewed, annotated, updated resources for various topics in clinical medicine, for physicians and health care workers)
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 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." If you're curious and can't make Venice, 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. There are MANY more titles on the subject. As I learn more about them, I'll add more titles.
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
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)
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 course offerings, Medical editing (University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and
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 (αrka 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.
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)
The Open Notebook (the story 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.
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).
Pay rates for technical, business, and trade editing (Megan B. Wyatt, Suite101.com, 8-23-09). Average payment for medical, science and corporate editors
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."
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: Somethings 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)
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?
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.
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.
Sense About Science (charitable trust in UK, promoting good science and evidence for the public, partly by responding to misrepresentations about science)
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
Telling science stories wait, whats 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 cant do that with a narrative, where clues can be hidden all along the way, and the grand solution comes close to the end. "
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!
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
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 Englishwhat 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).
What Should Be Done To Tackle Ghostwriting in the Medical Literature? (an important debate on PLoS Medicine)
Words never to use in medical reportingand other advice about reporting on research (Health News Review)
Writing a Literature Review by Allyson Skene, The Writing Centre, University of Toronto at Scarborough (PDF)
AGU blogs (American Geophysical Union's excellent community of earth and space science blogs)
AMA Style Insider
Best 50 Medical Technology Blogs (Forensic Science)
A Blog Around the Clock , formerly A Blog Around the Clock. This blog was a part of the Scienceblogs.com collective from June 2006 till July 2010 at http://scienceblogs.com/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)
Embargo Watch (Ivan Oransky, keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage)
Freelance Medical Writing
Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview blog
Grand Rounds, a weekly summary of the best health blog posts on the Internet, available at Better Health and at Blogborygmi.com
HealthCare 100 (global ranking of top English-language health blogs, per eDrugSearch, a site devoted to consumers being able to buy drugs online)
Health News Blogs (Association of Health Care Journalists blogroll)
Health News Watchdog
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
Musings of a Distractible Mind (Dr. Rob Lambert)
National Association of Science Writers (NASW)
Patient POV (Laura Newman)
Pulse (voices from the heart of medicine -- personal accounts of illness and healing)
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).
Reporting on Health blogs (California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships), including
--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)
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)
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
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)
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.
Top 50 Public Health Blogs (The Science of Health blog, 1-13-10)
Embargoes Master List (Robin Lloyd, Third Turn)
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 Surgeons 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).
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)
Websites, organizations, and other resources
A GREAT READ
BOOK AND MAGAZINE PUBLISHING
WRITERS AND CREATORS
ETHICS, RIGHTS, AND OTHER ISSUES
EDITORS AND EDITING