amastyleinsider

December 15, 2014

Ex Libris: Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 8th Edition

Filed under: ex libris — amastyleinsider @ 9:36 am
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Wondering what to give your favorite copy editor this holiday season? How about a copy of the new Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers? The eighth edition of the CSE manual, published this year (2014), is an updated, modernized version of the manual all editors turn to for science and technology style matters.

The eighth edition of the CSE manual is organized into 4 parts: Publishing Fundamentals, General Style Conventions, Special Scientific Conventions, and Technical Elements of Publication. Each of these parts has been revised and expanded from the seventh edition. In part 1 (Publishing Fundamentals), information has been added on abstracts, online databases and repositories, responsibilities of publishers, copyright basics, and creative common licenses. In part 2 (General Style Conventions), a new section on active vs passive voice has been added, and the section on “Numbers, Units, Mathematical Expressions, and statistics” has been significantly revised and reorganized. In part 3 (Special Scientific Conventions), several of the nomenclature chapters have been updated, including information on chemical kinetics and thermodynamics, analytical chemistry, astronomical objects and time systems, and genes, chromosomes, and related molecules, and the section has been reorganized by subject as opposed to science. In part 4 (Technical Elements of Publication), significant changes have been made to modernize the language and include new types of publication formats.  

Some of the specific changes in the 8th edition of the CSE manual that are pertinent to the working copy editor are as follows:

  • email
  • website
  • app (abbreviation for apparent)
  • f (not fl as abbreviation for fluid)
  • Use of the citation-sequence format for reference citations
  • Use of commas not thin spaces in numbers (1,000, 10,000, 100,000; not 1000, 10 000, 100 000)

Another advantage to the eighth edition of the CSE manual is that it is now, for the first time, available in both print and online versions (www.scientificstyleandformat.org). Online subscribers will not only be able to perform full-text searches of the manual but also have access to the Chicago Manual of Style Online forum.

Weighing in at 722 pages, Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 8th Edition, is too large to stuff in a stocking but would serve nicely as a holiday gift. If gift giving isn’t your style, pick up a copy for yourself and add this essential scientific style manual to your personal bookcase.—Laura King, MA, ELS

November 26, 2014

Questions From Users of the Manual

Filed under: frequently asked questions — amastyleinsider @ 3:35 pm
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Q: I am used to writing “compared with” when discussing results/measurements. Can you please comment on whether this is correct?

A: This is addressed in the glossary in chapter 11. See “compare to, compare with.” You’ll see there that “compare with” is usually used when the aim is to examine similarities or differences in detail.

Q: I was trained in other settings to ignore having to write out the state on first mention if the city is well known, especially if the readership is primarily American. For example, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco would not require adding the state name on first mention. Something like Spring Green would. What would AMA style require?

A: Please see section 14.5, where this is addressed in detail. The key sentence is this:  “At first mention, the name of a state, territory, possession, province, or country should be spelled out when it follows the name of a city.” In earlier editions, we used to follow a policy something like what you describe but changed that as it was a matter of opinion what was “well known” and what was not.  Also, with the international readership of so many publications, this becomes a trickier question.—Cheryl Iverson, MA

October 29, 2014

When Worlds Collide

Filed under: grammar,meta-blog — amastyleinsider @ 2:46 pm
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Hooray for grammar! AMA Style Insider was pleased and surprised to find our humble blog linked from the website of Midwestern singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. Subjects, objects, Miley Cyrus, and AMA style—it’s all coming together.—Brenda Gregoline, ELS

October 15, 2014

Quiz Bowl: Sentence Structure

Filed under: quizzes — amastyleinsider @ 12:45 pm
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One of the challenges for medical editors is to synthesize a great deal of information into clear, readable prose. To accomplish this task, we often have to wade through a murky bog of confusing comparisons, run-on sentences, or large amounts of data. We must tread lightly so as not to distort the meaning of the text or the accuracy of the data, but tread we must.

This month’s style quiz gives users the opportunity to practice their editing skills in a more substantive manner. The quiz provides 6 examples of convoluted text that require a fine editorial hand. The following is one example from the quiz:

Adolescent participants (aged 13-17 years) were recruited from 9 pediatric and family medicine clinics located in 3 urban areas in Washington State in the Group Health system from April 1, 2010, through March 31, 2011, that were selected because of their greater patient diversity and higher number of adolescent patients.

Highlight for answer:

Adolescent participants (aged 13-17 years) were recruited from 9 pediatric and family medicine clinics in the Group Health system from April 1, 2010, through March 31, 2011. Clinics located in 3 urban areas in Washington State were selected for their greater patient diversity and higher number of adolescent patients.

Obviously, there are numerous ways to edit the original sentence. We provide just one example of many. Perhaps you found an even better way; if so, leave us a comment.

If you’re interested in more practice, check out the full quiz on the AMA Manual of Style website.—Laura King, MA, ELS

September 22, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Filed under: punctuation,statistics — amastyleinsider @ 12:14 pm

To pass the time between stylebook editions, the JAMA Network staff keep an in-house file of little tips, tricks, guidelines, and style changes that have occurred since the last time the manual was published. Here is a small peek inside that file—2 things from this past summer.

The terms multivariable and multivariate are not synonymous, as the entries in the Glossary of Statistical Terms suggest (Chapter 20.9, page 881 in the print). To be accurate, multivariable refers to multiple predictors (independent variables) for a single outcome (dependent variable). Multivariate refers to 1 or more independent variables for multiple outcomes. (This update was implemented June 1, 2014.)

Cross-section, as a verb or adjective should be capped in titles as Cross-section; cross section as a noun should be capped in titles as Cross Section. (This update was implemented August 4, 2014).—Brenda Gregoline, with help from John McFadden

July 24, 2014

Lies and Statistics

Filed under: statistics — amastyleinsider @ 12:44 pm
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Check out this post from Skeptical Scalpel about uncool tricks with statistical graphs. Editors beware!—Brenda Gregoline, ELS

 

 

July 1, 2014

Questions From Users of the Manual

Filed under: frequently asked questions — amastyleinsider @ 10:38 am
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Q: I note in the manual that you do not require the use of the registered trademark symbol with brand names, as long as an initial capital letter is used (see 5.6.16, Use of Trademark Names in Publication).  Does this guideline apply to copy in medical books as well as medical journals?

A:  You are right that our manual does not encourage the use of the little “R” in a circle or the superscript TM to denote trademarks but rather relies on the initial cap to signify a trademark. As to what style would apply to books (medical or other), it really all comes down to what style the book publisher uses. The Chicago Manual of Style (section 8.152) states: “Although the symbols [cap R in a circle and superscript TM] for registered and unregistered trademarks, respectively) often accompany trademark names on product packaging and in promotional material, there is no legal requirement to use these symbols, and they should be omitted wherever possible.”

I think you would be fairly safe in zapping the symbol and just using the initial cap, unless the style guide you are following in editing a book dictates otherwise.

Q: What do you recommend re capitalization for something like the word “test” or “examination” or “questionnaire” in names of specific tests, examinations, or questionnaires?

A: Our style manual (section 10.3.8) advises the following regarding capping the “t” on “test” when it follows the name of a specific test. I would extrapolate from this to cover similar questions.

Tests.  The exact and complete titles of tests and subscales of tests should be capitalized.  The word test is not usually capitalized except when it is part of the official name of the test.  Always verify exact names of any tests with the author or with reference sources.

Examples where a cap would be correct include the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.—Cheryl Iverson, MA

June 11, 2014

Questions From Users of the Manual

Filed under: frequently asked questions — amastyleinsider @ 9:47 am
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Q: My colleagues and I are debating the correctness of the following sentence:  If any of the side effects gets serious, contact the study doctor.

A: If you remove the words “of the” from your sentence, you will find the answer(s) readily apparent. If there is one side effect, you’d use the singular:  “If any side effect becomes serious….”  If there is more than one side effect, you’d use the plural:  If any side effects become serious….”

Q: Should “week” or “weeks” be used in the following sentences?

 The changes in serum creatinine remained stable from week/weeks 48 to 96.

Nausea typically develops between the fourth and sixth week/weeks of pregnancy.

A: We would suggest using “weeks” in both examples. It would, of course, not be incorrect to repeat “week,” eg, “…at week 48 and week 96,” but for efficiency you could use “…at weeks 48 and 96.”—Cheryl Iverson, MA

May 27, 2014

Quiz Bowl: Editing and Proofreading Marks

Filed under: quizzes — amastyleinsider @ 10:41 am
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tr, swk, wf, lc.

No, the vowel keys haven’t fallen off my laptop keyboard. Those are just a few examples from this month’s quiz on editing and proofreading marks. Although most editing and proofreading are now performed electronically, corrections still sometimes need to be marked on printed manuscripts and typeset copy. Because of this, editors need to be able to identify and use correct editing and proofreading marks.

Although most editors are familiar with marks such as stet, for let it stand, and Au?, for author query, some of the other editing and proofreading marks can occasionally cause confusion. This month’s AMA Manual of Style quiz offers a sampling of these marks to test your knowledge.

Included in the quiz are the meanings of the vowelless list above: tr, swk, wf, lc.

Highlight for the meanings of these marks: tr, transpose; swk, set when known; wf, wrong font; lc, lowercase.

To test your knowledge of additional editing and proofreading marks, check out this month’s quiz at www.amamanualofstyle.com.—Laura King, MA, ELS

May 13, 2014

Questions From Users of the Manual

Filed under: frequently asked questions — amastyleinsider @ 1:49 pm
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Q: I cannot find anything in the AMA Manual of Style about how to cite an article in a magazine. Please help.

A: You are correct that we do not address citations to magazines, primarily because the material we focus on is more scholarly. However, you could extrapolate from the information on how to cite a journal article (see section 3.11). Here is an example of citation of a magazine article:

Angell R. This old man: life in the nineties. New Yorker. February 17&24, 2014:60-65.

You’ll notice that although we prefer giving the year;volume number(issue number):inclusive pages in our citations to journal articles, some magazines do not use volume and issue numbers but instead rely on the issue date. This seems to be true of the New Yorker, and this article was in a double issue, so you’ll see that I have suggested using issue date:inclusive page numbers.

Q: What is the best way to send a question to you regarding the content of the style manual?

A: You may write to the style manual at stylemanual@jamanetwork.org.

Q: For package insert references, many times the manufacturer and marketing company are the same. However, if they are not, which company should be listed in the reference citation?

A: It might be helpful in the case of a manufacturer and a marketer to list both. In this case, you could separate them by a semicolon:

Onglyza [package insert]. Princeton, NJ: Bristol-Myers Squibb Co; Wilmington, DE: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; July 2009.—Cheryl Iverson, MA

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