Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium: guidelines for paper writing
Students who present a talk or a poster on their research at the Fall Symposium will be writing a short paper to be published in the proceedings of the symposium
We've put together some guidelines here, and though they are by no means exhaustive, they address some of the common mistakes and problems we've seen over the years.
To avoid common errors:
- The American spelling of "acknowledgment" has only two e's. Similarly "judgment" has only one e.
- PowerPoint is a trademark, and is one word with a capital P in the middle as well as the one that begins it.
- "its" is the possessive and "it's" means, always, "it is."
- "alright" is not the accepted spelling of "all right."
- In SI units, unit names aren't capitalized (angstroms, kelvins, joules) while symbols for units that are named after people are capitalized (A, K, J) (with the exception of a capitalized L for "liter"; there was no French Monsieur Litre).
- Periods and commas ALWAYS go within quotation marks. Semicolons and colons go outside the quotation marks. To give a "correct example": "Wonderful," she exclaimed, "wow"; "it was a remarkably beautiful supernova."
And from this year's proceedings editor, Steve Ratcliff:
Take advantage of the style sheets for MS Word. It would also be helpful for me to know whether the document was created on a Mac or in Windows. I discovered last time that the appearance of (especially) images is best when printed on a system similar to that in which the image was originally created/edited.
Please do not violate the margin, line spacing, and font size aspects of the MS Word "knac200" predefined styles - in particular, do not make the text font smaller than 12-point, nor figure caption text smaller than 10-point. The editor will enforce these regulations; if such enforcement upsets the pagination or layout, he may be forced to make corrections less appropriate than those you can make yourselves in advance!
Please convert all figures and images to black & white, if possible, or grayscale. We do not print the proceedings in color, so to ensure accurate and readable rendering of your graphics, do the conversions yourselves - don't depend on the editor, who does not know as well as do you the way the figures and images should look. In particular, graphs that used different colors for different data series may become, upon printing in grayscale, indecipherable.
Please indicate very clearly whether the document was prepared on a Macintosh or in Windows - the slight differences often lead to pagination problems; the editor (and you) can be spared some grief if the editor knows in advance the correct platform.
Attention students: It is not too late to submit your papers. We have a template or two to use as starting points for formatting, etc. Submit your paper to Prof. Steve Ratcliff (ratcliff -at- middlebury.edu) as soon as possible.
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