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A Guide to Medical Publishing and Writing.
  1. M C Bateson
  1. Consultant Physician and Specialist in Gastroenterology, Bishop Auckland General Hospital, Bishop Auckland, UK

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    Edited by Peter Richardson. (Pp 145; £10.99.) Quay Books, 2002. ISBN 1-85642-222-4.

    ***

    This is a 14 author, 15 chapter booklet containing a collection of pieces on electronic and paper writing and publishing. It was heartening for the reviewer to learn that early morning is the most productive time for creativity, as this review was written in the bright calm hours after a midsummer dawn.

    The quality of the different chapters is variable. Those dealing with writing CVs, review articles, original research, and the use of the internet were helpful and thought provoking. Conversely the 20 pages on creation of a multimedia CD ROM were turgid and made the reader feel vaguely suicidal.

    There was some discussion of the relative places of paper and electronic publishing and it is really hard to estimate the shape of the future. One suspects that the satisfying material presence of a glossy journal or hardback book will always have more appeal than endless scrolling through computer screens.

    Friends of the English language will be dispirited by the first sentence of the book “Information is one commodity health professionals are not short of”, but thankfully the grammar thereafter is reasonable. Some contributors adopt a jovial approach “Remember to always delete split infinitives” and “Avoid cliches like the plague”. Regrettably neither of these statements is original or particularly helpful.

    It is always in the nature of synoptic texts that the reader is left wanting more, but at least this little publication does point in some useful directions.

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    Footnotes

    • The reviewers have been asked to rate these books in terms of four items: readability, how up to date they are, accuracy and reliability, and value for money, using simple four point scales. From their opinions we have derived an overall “star” rating: * = poor, ** = reasonable, *** = good, **** = excellent.

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