Resources on academic writing

For academics, faculty and staff at any level, academic writing skills can be the difference between being published in academic journals, funded or employed or their hard work going unrecognised. From writing journal articles, peer review reports and grant proposals to feedback for students and exam questions, the hard graft of crafting meaningful prose reaches every aspect of university life. These resources look at how to improve academic-style writing in different contexts and for different audiences in research and teaching, as well as how to tap into creativity for better results.

Young female academic writing on laptop illustrating spotlight on academic writing

Exercises to brush up on your academic writing

It’s tempting when you’ve finished a piece of writing to breathe a sigh of relief and rush towards the next deadline. But reflecting on your process, what went well and less well and whether a particular strategy worked for a particular type of piece will move your writing forward and develop your instinct for what works, writes Anne Wilson of the Royal Literary Fund in her piece outlining three exercises that will help you improve your academic writing. 

Three ways to refresh your academic writing

To answer the common question posed by researchers, ‘how can I improve my academic writing?’, Anne Wilson outlines three simple steps that can help

Anne Wilson

Royal Literary Fund

Improve your own and your students’ academic writing

In our podcast on writing and publishing, academics, authors, publishers and postdocs share their advice on how to improve academic writing. Learn how to establish a consistent writing practice, find the hook in your work and introduce a range of voices into your material, among other strategies. 

Teaching in higher education institutions requires educators to empower students to become better writers. At the University of Glasgow, all 11,000 incoming undergraduate and postgraduate taught students complete a compulsory writing course, receiving feedback and guidance on their writing within the first four weeks of enrolment at the university. The institution’s writing and study skills coordinator explains how to implement a similar intervention to improve students’ academic writing.

Identify your academic writing style

Many early career researchers struggle to write enough. The key is to move away from an abstract notion of productivity and towards a productive writing process, explains Rachael Cayley. In her resource on how to identify your academic writing style, she argues that common productivity advice often overlooks structural barriers, and that understanding one’s writing process is crucial for effective productivity.

Academic publishing: how to pitch

Our resources on how to navigate the world of academic publishing include advice from authors and editorial staff. Victoria Pittman, editorial director at Bristol University Press, suggests key considerations for researchers when choosing an academic publisher and preparing their pitch.

Video maker and science communicator Simon Clark explains exactly what a book proposal is and what you should include in it. After all, “having an interesting concept for a book is not enough to guarantee success. You are not just selling your idea, but also your abilities as an author and salesperson,” he argues.

Writing for academic journals

Publishing an academic journal article for the first time can be a daunting and sometimes disappointing experience. In her article on how to prepare your manuscript, Elsevier Researcher Academy’s Jing Tang gives insight into what makes one stand out and how to choose an appropriate home for it.

When you put your work out there, you invite scrutiny, and on many occasions, this manifests as a rejection of your paper. Catherine Léglu, vice-rector for academic affairs at the University of Luxembourg, argues that “‘no‘ gives you a chance to think carefully about the quality of what you wrote”. In her resource, she explains how to see the rejection of your article by a peer-reviewed journal as an opportunity.