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

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.


As cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant continue to increase in our community, we must unite and take necessary steps to prevent further spread.

  1. Daily and before arriving to campus, complete the P3 app. If you are not given the green check mark to enter campus, then return home, and contact me by email.
  2. Please check your FIU email account and your Canvas course at least once a day. Email and Canvas are the best ways for the university, and your professors, to contact you.
  3. If you do not feel well, have tested positive for COVID, or have been in contact with a person with COVID while not yet being fully vaccinated, please do not come to class, immediately complete the P3 app to notify the COVID Response Team or call them at 305-348-1919, and contact me by email as soon as you can. To excuse absences for P3 failure/COVID, please contact the COVID Response Team at 305-348-1919. If you are directed to quarantine because of COVID-19, your absences will be considered excused. Contact me to discuss how to make up missed classes and assignments.
  4. Per recent CDC guidelines, A vaccinated, asymptomatic individual exposed to a COVID positive person does not need to quarantine. Nevertheless, it is strongly encouraged to continue to wear a mask. Furthermore, it is recommended to get tested 3-5 days after a known exposure. However, if at any time you become symptomatic, you need to test immediately. If the test returns positive, you will need to follow the COVID-19 positive protocol at that time.
  1. “Asymptomatic” means (of a condition or a person) producing or showing no symptoms.
  2. “Symptomatic” means exhibiting or involving symptoms.
  3. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  4. Please take every precaution to keep yourself and others healthy. Per CDC guidelines, you are encouraged to get vaccinated and strongly advised to wear a mask indoors and in public including all FIU facilities.
  5. Missing excessive days may lead to failing a class or a grade of incomplete.
  6. For me to assist you in achieving your goals, it is important for you to contact me as soon as you experience any events that might disrupt your course participation. For up-to-date information about COVID-19, please see the fiu.edu FAQs.
  7. Please be advised that classes may be audio and visually recorded and/or subject to course capture for future access by students in this course. Your attendance/ participation in this course constitutes consent to such recordings, which will only be used for educational purposes by students in the course and securely stored in University systems. If there is a concern regarding the recording and use of such recording, please contact FERPA@fiu.edu.

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