Modern scientific writing seeks to express ideas with sentences and words that are as simple and clear as possible.
In this "Reasoned Writing" module, we largely focus on structuring communication: how to use frameworks and reasoning to make clear written arguments. However, the utility of science overwhelmingly depends on content, not on writing style. Therefore, one of the main objectives of scientific writing is to minimize how conspicuous the writing itself is in communication.
Eloquent and beautiful scientific writing does exist, and could potentially have a larger impact than less pleasurable text. However, the dangers of complex and confusing prose far outweigh the benefits of unusually elegant writing. Confusing writing could lead to mis-interpretation and cause costly wastes of time and effort. Confusing writing could also help to conceal the rare cases of scientific fraud, which can result in direct and indirect public health costs (e.g. sickness and death). Therefore, a reasonable goal for scientific sentences and verbiage is not to use florid prose with a rich and varied vocabulary. Instead, a reasonable goal of scientific writing is to be as simple as possible.