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Plain language and readability - Volume 24, Issue

Plain language is writing in clear, concise language that is easy to read and understand. Whenever I hear the term plain language I am reminded of a lay summary I was once asked to edit. The stream of technical language (‘self-source bias’, ‘effect m…

Time to make it shorter: Plain English in our context - Volume 24, Issue

Plain English in medical and scientific writing is not one-size-fits-all, because audiences differ. Advice on writing plain English abounds. In 1946, George Orwell, best known as the author of 1984, formulated a much quoted, compact set of rules for…

Making leaflets clearer for patients - Volume 24, Issue

This article examines the clarity of several health information leaflets issued to the public in Europe. It finds that some of the language is quirky, ambiguous, and confusing. In one leaflet, the size of type is too small for easy reading, even by…

Online plain English and readability resources - Volume 24, Issue

To encourage individuals and businesses to write in simpler, more readable English, private and government-backed enterprises have created a number of freely available online resources. While most relate to general English use, some are devoted to…

How CDC is promoting a clear communication culture - Volume 24, Issue

Both the federal Plain Writing Act and the mission of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect and promote people's health require CDC to communicate clearly so that people can understand and act on the important health…

Getting what you want from your scientific writing: tips for writing clearly - Volume 21, Issue

Good medical writing is like good writing in any discipline: the writer should explain complex concepts and ideas clearly and accurately and engage the reader. In this article, I provide four suggestions to help clarify writing on complex subjects:…

The Webscout - Volume 24, Issue

The word ‘plain’ in its original sense just meant ‘flat, smooth’. In the thirteenth century, it also gained the meaning ‘evident’. And from the fourteenth century on, ‘plain’ has been used in the way we understand it in the term ‘plain language’: to…

Profile: An interview with Blanca Mayor Serrano on the state-of-the-art of health literacy in Spain - Volume 22, Issue

There seems to be a move towards ‘patient-centred’ health care as part of an overall effort to improve the quality of health care and to reduce costs. Individual patients and providers have to work together to ensure effective communication.…

Journal Watch - Volume 21, Issue

Readability of informed consent forms, sponsor participation in industry trials, and conflict of interest disclosure. Informed consent is a crucial feature of clinical research trials. Guidelines on developing an informed consent form urge writers…

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Medical Writing is a quarterly publication that aims to educate and inform medical writers in Europe and beyond. Each issue focuses on a specific theme, and all issues include feature articles and regular columns on topics relevant to the practice of medical writing. We welcome articles providing practical advice to medical writers; guidelines and reviews/summaries/updates of guidelines published elsewhere; original research; opinion pieces; interviews; and review articles.

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