Monthly Archives: September 2016

Excerpts from ‘Elements of Style for Writing Scientific Journal Articles’

The full, short paper is here. These are the suggestions I thought most relevant:

-Write for the busy reader who is easily distracted.

-Use the present tense for known facts and hypotheses. Use the past tense for describing experiments that have been conducted and the results of these experiments. Avoid shifting tenses within a unit of text (paragraph, sub-section or section).

-Use the active voice to shorten sentences.

-Eliminate redundant words or phrases. “Due to the fact that” becomes “because”.

-Write direct and short sentences. The average length of sentences in scientific writing is only about 12-17 words.

-Avoid making multiple statements in one sentence. Link sentences together within a paragraph to provide a clear story-line.

-Put statements in positive form. Use “He usually came late” instead of “He is not very often on time”.

-Provide a logical transition from one paragraph to another.

-Avoid using “this” unqualified. It’s not always obvious what “this” is.

-Avoid subjective or redundant words or phrases that will date the paper. Examples: “high resolution”, “new result”, “latest findings”.

-Avoid expressions of belief, instead giving logic as to why something will be true.

-Cross-reference equations, figures, and sections both by their number and by their name. I hadn’t thought about this and never do it. Use “as discussed in the methods Section 2” instead of “as discussed in Section 2”. Makes life easier for the reader.

-Allow the reader to digest a figure’s main points without reading the text. Figures should be able to stand alone.

-When editing, read your work as an interested and smart non-expert.

2017 Early-career Sustainable Operations Workshop

Re-posting the call for presentations from Professors Kraft and Agrawal:

Dear colleagues,

We are happy to announce that the 2017 Early-career Sustainable Operations workshop will be held March 3rd – 5th, 2017 at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.

The program will follow a format similar to the past two years, with a dinner to be held Friday night, followed by a full day of presentations and panels Saturday, and then a half day of presentations on Sunday. The conference is sponsored by the Darden School of Business, the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.

The program committee includes Atalay Atasu (Georgia Tech), Eda Kemahlioglu-Ziya (NC State), Beril Toktay (Georgia Tech), Vishal Agrawal (Georgetown), and Tim Kraft (Darden). We plan to schedule 6-8 presentations on Saturday and 3-4 presentations on Sunday. We are inviting junior academics (untenured faculty) and PhD students who are interested in presenting to submit a 1-page abstract or a working paper, if one is available, to by November 4, 2016. Notice of acceptances will be sent by December 16, 2016. Ties will be broken in favor of full papers.

For more information or questions, please email Tim Kraft at or Vishal Agrawal at

Thank you!
Vishal and Tim

Tim Kraft
Assistant Professor
University of Virginia
Darden School of Business
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Vishal Agrawal
Associate Professor
McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

Book Review- Kluge

Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind
by Gary Marcus, 2008


The premise of the book, that our mental capabilities sometimes leads to odd workaround behaviors, is interesting enough. And I did like certain parts of the book. But overall, it just wore me down. Not particularly recommended. Discusses the difficulty of remembering a specific piece of information, the imperfect nature of language, overconfidence, not knowing what makes us happy, and coping with mental illnesses. I listened to this on audiobook, and Maria gave up after a few chapters.

Checklist to use before submitting paper

-Are your research questions clear and well-motivated?
-Is there a consistent narrative throughout paper?
-Is the contribution well-justified?
-Are the journal guidelines and formatting instructions followed?

Paraphrased from a talk at the Young Scholars Workshop of the Behavioral Operations Conference in July 2016.

Book Review- The Industries of the Future

The Industries of the Future
by Alec Ross, 2016

The Industries of the Future

Ross was Senior Advisor for Innovation to Clinton when she was Secretary of State. In this book, he describes the fields poised for major growth and the conditions under which major growth can occur. Robotics, bio-tech and genomics, cybersecurity, financial technology, and big data analytics are the growth industries mentioned. I’ve worked in cybersecurity and big data and am conversant in genomics and bitcoin, and I found myself agreeing with most things Ross had to say. Very thought-provoking and well-written. Bonus points for interesting descriptions of Estonia and Singapore at the end.