Medical Writing The Medical Writing Business European Science Editing: May 2015 picks

Volume 24, Issue 3 - The Medical Writing Business

European Science Editing: May 2015 picks


In the ironically titled ‘The increasing pseudodignification of medical prose’, retired consultant Neville W. Goodman bemoans the failure of medical writers (by which he means people who write scientific papers) to use simple words.1 Goodman explores trends in word usage from 1930 to 2010 using PubMed as a source of data on scientific writing and Google's Ngram Viewer (English Fiction corpus) for general writing. He finds that for many pairs of words comprising an approved (simple) and disapproved alternative (e.g. given and administered) the approved word is more likely to be chosen by writers of fiction than by writers of scientific papers. He presents evidence that this is an old problem, but one that is getting worse. He highlights the rise of the disfavoured word novel (prefer new), which appeared in no less than 8.5% of abstracts in 2014. All this in spite of concerted efforts to encourage the adoption of plain English (as explored in the March 2015 issue of Medical Writing). Goodman is downbeat about the outlook for scientific English but offers no solutions to the problems afflicting it.

Download the full article


  1. Goodman NW. The increasing pseudodignification of medical prose. Eur Sci Editing. 2015;41(2):31–5.
  2. Wheatley D. Out with the old, in with the new – words and phrases in fashion. Eur Sci Editing. 2015;41(2):43–4.
  3. Marušić M. The importance of legal regulation for scientific journals. Eur Sci Editing. 2015;41(2):36–8.
  4. Allen L. Connecting researchers and research – investing in infrastructure to bring efficiencies to research. ORCID as an enabler of better research analytics. Eur Sci Editing. 2015;41(2):38–9.
  5. Maina S. Coursera: when learning never ends. Eur Sci Editing. 2015;41(2):49.



In this issue… The Medical Writing Business
President's Message
Setting up and running a medical writing company
For the greater good…Can agency competitors cooperate to advance medical publication practices?
The Section of Scientific Publications at the Texas Heart Institute
Is cheap outsourcing a threat to your career?
Successfully outsourcing medical writing
Freelancing – Are you ready to go solo?
News from the EMA
European Science Editing: May 2015 picks
Profile: An interview with Dawn Bentley: How personal branding can advance your professional career!
The Webscout
In the Bookstores
Regulatory Writing: New developments in public disclosure of clinical trials
Lingua Franca and Beyond
Gained in Translation
HIV research fraudster handed stiff prison sentence
English Grammar and Style: Good Writing Practice
Did you know that EMWA has an archive of webinar material on our website?
Medical Communications
Out On Our Own


The Write Stuff Archive Contact Instructions for Authors Article Template (Word) Journal Policies

Editoral Board


Raquel Billiones


Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

Managing Editor

Victoria White

Associate Editors

Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Nicole Bezuidenhout

Claire Chang

Barbara Grossman

Sarah Milner

John Plant

Sampoorna Rappaz

Amy Whereat

Section Editors

Daniela Kamir


Jennifer Bell


Nicole Bezuidenhout 

Digital Communication

Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News 

Ana Sofia Correia 

Gained in Translation

Ivana Turek

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh 

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Maddy Dyer


Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Payal Bhatia

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Adriana Rocha


Tiziana von Bruchhausen


Clare ChangZuo Yen Lee 

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

Teaching Medical Writing

Louisa Ludwig-Begall / Sarah Kabani

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Louisa Marcombes

Veterinary Writing

Editors Emeritus

Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

Layout Designer

Chris Monk