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ON WRITING TO BE READ

J. W. HOWIE, M.D., ABERD.
AMA Arch Surg. 1952;65(2):212-213. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1952.01260020225002.
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ABSTRACT

DOCTORS and scientists usually seem to dislike writing about their work: "I hate the writing-up," they often say. Perhaps it is the "up" that does the harm. If authors were content to write instead of writing-up, many mistakes might be avoided. Writing-up suggests that the author feels the need to do something beyond communicating his facts and thoughts.

Authors engaged in writing-up often seem to think that they must make a powerful impression. Some of this may arise from deliberate or unconscious imitation of works which are justly regarded as classics. Such works are classics because they contain valuable new facts and ideas, not because they may have been written in the grand manner, or perhaps directed with particular energy against someone whose views the author wished to contradict. Incidental attributes of this kind do not prevent papers with new and good information from becoming classics, but they are not

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