Review by Booklist Review
It has been 11 years since the fifth edition of this well-known manual was published under the title CBE Style Manual: A Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers in the Biological Sciences. Earlier editions focused on style for those publishing in the plant sciences, zoology, microbiology, and the medical sciences. This quite expanded sixth edition covers all scientific disciplines, excluding only a few technological areas that are not experimental or observational. In order to include new disciplines, the sections on how to write and submit papers to scientific journals have been omitted. This was a sensible change, since each journal already publishes its own procedures. The Style Manual Committee of the Council of Biology Editors had five aims in producing this excellent book: to support convergence in style in an international framework, to simplify formats for citations and references, to simplify style rules, to offer options based on the deeply rooted conventions of some disciplines, and to reduce work at the keyboard. The major parts of the book are "General Style Conventions," "Special Scientific Conventions," "Journals and Books," and "Publishing Process." Of these parts, the first two make up the bulk of the book. "General Style Conventions" covers every possible aspect, including alphabets, symbols, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations, and geographic descriptions. Most of these conventions are also used outside the scientific community, so this manual can serve as a style reference for all writers, although some conventions are unique to science. For example, this section recommends the use of Arabic numerals instead of spelled-out words for the numbers one to nine. The "Special Scientific Conventions" section is comprehensive, covering the electromagnetic spectrum, subatomic particles, chemical elements, chemical names and formulas, analytical methods, drugs and pharmacokinetics, chromosomes, viruses, bacteria, plants, algae, human and animal life, the earth, and astronomical objects and time systems. The text is thorough and easy to follow, with many examples. Appendixes cover recommended practices for abbreviating journal titles and publishers' names; a bibliography is followed by an index. There is no other book like this for the scientific and technological community. It should be the major desk reference for anyone writing a scientific article or book. Students should be made aware of the manual early in their educational career so that old habits can be broken and correct procedures adhered to. Highly recommended for all academic libraries; public libraries should consider purchase, too. (Reviewed December 1, 1994)
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