Scientific Writing and Communication, Spring 2019, Flakkebjerg

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD/MSc course
Time of year: Spring 2019
Hours per week: 16
Capacity limits: Minimum 10 and maximum 20 participants

Objectives of the course:
The objective of this course is to introduce participants to the details of communication and writing scientific publications. The main emphasis is on the most common form, the “primary scientific paper”, but other forms will be covered. Matters related to oral presentations, poster preparation and proposal writing will also be discussed. Thus participants will become familiar with the forms of presenting new findings to various scientific forums.

Please note that the main focus of this course is on how to structure a scientific text, i.e. the rules and requirements, building up the actual text, presenting findings, etc., and not very much on the actual language, i.e. grammar, vocabulary, language structure, etc. The latter will only be touched briefly upon.

Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Judge and decide about the appropriate form and forum for their work
  • Evaluate potential publication forums
  • Write a scientific manuscript that conforms to the rules and requirements
  • Analyse their presentation efficiency and improve it in their written work
  • Deal with scientific editors, and others involved in the scientific publishing process
  • Prepare and present effective oral presentations and posters
  • Prepare a scientific project proposal

Compulsory programme:
Participants have to be present at 80% of the lectures (this means that you can miss two half-days), and actively participate in the group discussions and exercises. Additionally, participants have to complete four written assignments.

Course contents:

  • The current structure of scientific literature, the basics of scientometrics, the main features of the scientific information ‘industry’, how to decide where to publish
  • The different arts of a primary scientific paper and how to write them
  • The publication process (manuscript preparation, submission, dealing with editors, technical editing and printing)
  • Requirements of grammar and style
  • Principles of preparing figures and tables
  • Oral presentations: preparation and delivery, poster preparation, conference participation
  • Proposal writing and project management

PhD students in the phase of writing or preparing to write would benefit most from this course. MSc students can sign up if places remain available.

Name of lecturer(s):
Dr. Gabor Lövei, Senior Scientist, Adjunct Professor

Type of course/teaching methods:
Lectures, exercises, group discussions


  • Day RA & Gastel B 2006. How to write and publish a scientific paper. 6th ed. Cambridge Univ. Press
  • Cargill M, O’Connor P 2009. Writing scientific research articles. Wiley-Blackwell

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
Pass/fail on the basis of attendance, activity, and appropriately prepared assignments:

  1. On the basis of an abstract of a published paper, analyse and if necessary, modify the title.
  2. Write a max. 2 page evaluation of a summary of a published paper or conference abstract.
  3. Write an analysis of a published figure.
  4. Prepare and send a larger piece of (your own) work
    - a major part of a manuscript: an introduction, material & methods section, results, discussion AND at least one figure designed by yourself, complete with title/caption
    You can send more, also a complete manuscript. You can also send a poster (electronically).

GSST/Department of Agroecology

Special comments on this course:
The assignments have to be printed and collated into a portfolio. All text has to be written following the manuscript preparation format, and the assessment will start (as in the case of manuscripts submitted) with the assessment of the formatting aspects. This is only a necessary hurdle to get the content evaluated. Please NOTE that assignments grossly deviating from the required format will be returned to the author, and if that happens, your assignment cannot pass.

Formatting instructions for assignments:

  • Use a single letter type, Serif font, size 12 point. Only use bold, underlining, italics and capitals for emphasis or indicating sections.
  • Pagination has to be in upper footnote on every page, and should include the author name.
  • Text has to be line numbered, continuously (do not restart on every page).
  • Assignments 1 and 3 (title and figure analysis): These have to be at least one page of text evaluating the title or figure.
  • Additionally, include all bibliographic details of the selected publication, and include the relevant parts of the article – but only the relevant parts. Relevant parts are:
    • Assignment 1: Title page, but at least including the title, authors, abstract and key words.
    • Assignment 2: Title page, incl. summary. Indicate the bibliographic data of the full paper.
    • Assignment 3: Title page or bibliographic data, and the chosen figure with the caption.
    • Assignment 4: This assignment has to be at least 2 full pages of text, plus references, authors, addresses – as relevant. There has to be a title page, with a title, authors, addresses, corresponding author details – it has to look like a first page of a proper manuscript.

The deadline for assignment portfolio submission:
One month after the end of the course, but it is preferable to submit them soon after the relevant topic is covered.

Time and place:

  • Wednesday, 2 January 2019 (week 1) at 9-16,
  • Thursday, 3 January 2019 (week 1) at 9-16,
  • Friday, 4 January 2019 (week 1) 9-16,

  • Wednesday, 16 January 2019 (week 3) at 9-16,
  • Thursday, 17 January 2019 (week 3) at 9-16,
  • Friday, 18 January 2019 (week 3) 9-16


Forsøgsvej 1
4200 Slagelse

No show fee:
Please note the following: As from 2017, a no-show fee is introduced at GSST’s transferable skills courses for course participants who do not show up at the course or cancel their course participation after the course registration deadline – unless they can provide a Doctor’s note. The no-show fee will be DKK 1,200 (the price of one ECTS). The no-show fee is introduced because GSST has experienced many late cancellations, thus preventing people from the waiting lists to have a seat at the courses.

Deadline for registration is Monday 3 December 2018. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than Thuesday, 4 December 2018.

Due to an Agreement between Danish Universities coming into force as of 1 January 2011, participants from other universities than Aarhus University will have to pay DKK 1,200 per ECTS. In principle this also applies to external parties, but exemption can be granted under specific circumstances.

Registration for participants from Aarhus University:

Registration for participants from other universities:

If you have any questions, please contact PhD Partner Karen Konradi, GSST (