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Laughing Sal

Long time, no updates

Because I haven't been doing much with my fiction for quite some time. I am currently working on something, and actually have a rhythm going, which feels great.

In the meantime, I do have a scientific publication coming out soon in Birth Defects Research Part B: Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology. I'm not sure exactly which issue it will appear in, but I went over the galleys about a week ago.

The experience got me thinking about the profound differences between academic writing and publishing versus fiction. For one thing, I was required to sign over copyright to the journal. Well, not me personally, but rather our deputy director had to sign over copyright for work coming out of our Office on which I am first author.

Open access to scholarly works is an issue in itself. A little information on a proposed bill that would prevent the NIH from requiring that publications based on tax-payer funded research be freely available to the public can be found here. I'm not sure what the current status of the bill is, but I know I sure appreciate having free access to scientific literature online -- when I want to research something for a story (because I don't abuse my work library privileges!).

From a writing standpoint, scientific literature seems to be slowly moving away from the obligatory passive voice for everything. Which is good, up to a point, until it's not. Interesting essay by Geoff Nunberg at the end of Fresh Air the other day on when and how the passive voice should be used. Someone posted a comment on the podcast linking this hand-out from UNC; I thought it was both concise and useful.

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