Term: Fall 2022; Tuesdays/Thursdays 9:30-10:45AM ET, MMC Owa Ehan 222

Zoom: https://fiu.zoom.us/j/92831960864?pwd=NjhRcXZZSzRXWFkzTVhVQUlQRGtPUT09

Instructor: Dr. John Kominoski; CASE 253; 305.348.7117; jkominos@fiu.edu

Office Hours: By Appointment

Course Goals

Effective communication is vital for scientific careers. Students will hone written, graphical, and verbal communication skills to enhance all three forms of scientific communication. Students will learn the fundamentals of science writing, peer review, and revised writing. The objective is for students to have a defensible manuscript at the end of the semester that is sufficient for submission for consideration for peer-review and eventual publication at a scientific journal of their choosing.

Class Schedule

Aug. 23: LECTURE: Writing overview / Essential Components of Scientific Manuscript

25: LECTURE: Science Writing as Storytelling/Structure/OCAR

30: LECTURE: The Opening: Is anybody listening?

Sept. 01: LAB: Title/Abstract/Introduction 

Sept. 06: LECTURE: The Challenge: Develop important, testable questions

08: LAB: Questions that advance science

13: LECTURE: The Action: When, Where, Why, What, How

15: LAB: Methods and Results

20: LECTURE: The Resolution: Take us home

22: LAB: revised Results

27: LECTURE: Writing from the inside out: Where and how to begin

29: LAB: Discussion and Conclusion

Oct. 04 LECTURE: Acknowledgements, Literature Cited, Tables and Figures

06: LAB: Manuscript – writing group feedback

11: LECTURE: Authorship and Ethics

13: LAB: Manuscript – writing group feedback

18: LECTURE: Target Journals, Instruction for Authors, Cover Letters, Reviewers

20: LAB: Manuscript – writing group feedback

25: LECTURE: Publishing data and metadata

27: LAB: Manuscript – writing group feedback

Nov. 01: LECTURE: Service: You as an editor/reviewer

03: LAB: Manuscript – First Draft Manuscript Due

      (due Nov. 3 11:59PM ET, upload to Canvas as assignment)

08: LECTURE: It’s a process: Dealing with reviewers /resubmission/ page proofs

10: LAB: Finishing Reviews (Reviews Due 5PM ET via email to jkominos@fiu.edu)

15: LAB: Responding to reviews

17: LECTURE: Science Communication – a lesson in improv

22: LAB: Developing Press Releases

24: NO CLASS (Happy Thanksgiving)

29: LAB: Scientific & Public Presentations – engaging your audience

Dec. 01: LECTURE: Storytelling with Data https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn6EIfiQQug

02: Revised Manuscript Due

      (due 5PM ET, sent via email to jkominos@fiu.edu)

Required Textbook

Schimel, Joshua. 2012. Writing Science – How to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded. Oxford University Press, New York. ISBN: 978-0-19-976024-4


  • Manuscript First submission: 30%
  • Manuscript Final submission: 15%
  • Manuscript Peer Review: 30%
  • Class Participation/Attendance: 25%

Publication Status & Grade

  • Accept as is: 100
  • Accept with minor revisions: 95
  • Accept with moderate revisions: 85
  • Reconsider after major revision: 75
  • Reject: ≤65

Expectations & Participation

Students will (1) participate in weekly lectures, labs, and discussions, (2) participate in giving and receiving weekly feedback with peer writing partner, (3) present manuscript sections and draft manuscripts during two labs based, (4) write a manuscript draft and revised manuscript of original, completed thesis or dissertation research, and (5) provide a journal-style peer review of another student’s draft manuscript. Successful leadership will involve preparing and circulating manuscript sections and draft manuscripts by the class period prior to the class period where materials will be presented, and integrating feedback from class into revised manuscripts. Students will be graded on their attendance (all absences must be excused), participation, facilitation of discussion and the clarity, content and conciseness of all written work.

Students are encouraged to employ critical thinking and to rely on data and verifiable sources to interrogate all assigned readings and subject matter in this course as a way of determining whether they agree with their classmates and/or their instructor. No lesson is intended to espouse, promote, advance, inculcate, or compel a particular feeling, perception, viewpoint or belief.

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