This is a project I am thinking of working on in the future.

Is anyone familiar with attempts to codify and create an explicit syntax for reporting science?

E.g. like you would have specific commands and functions in programming, but for science?

I feel like not only the way we write introductions and discussions, but also the methods and results can be very implicit in science.

This format would force you when you report e.g. a correlation to write "We obseved a significant/non-significant (P = ??) correlation (r/rho = ??) between X and Y"

Similarly, it would force you to build specific sentences in the introduction. Something like the book ' Academic phrasebank' ( http://dl.icdst.org/pdfs/files/d4eb6f6d8ac304fa10da0f9d4e402196.pdf )

My question is, has there something like that been done before for science, or for human language in different fields where accuracy is needed (e.g. law) ?

Also NOT something like 'Rmarkdown' or LaTeX which just format your text. I'm asking about allowing only explicit phrases to be used that have an exact meaning.

  • 4
    Scientific articles are written for people, who, unlike computer CPUs and compilers, use a broad vocabulary and flexible linguistic constructs. If article codification is enforced, it would be a constant struggle for authors "How do I express my idea X through the allowed constructs A, B and C"?
    – Alexander
    Jan 10, 2020 at 18:30
  • If you do feel that's a worthwhile project, why not go ahead and develop it? If you feel like not only the way we write introductions and discussions, but also the methods and results "can be very implicit in science" can you explain what that means in English? Apr 25, 2020 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


Yes. Something like this has been done before.

At any given moment, there might be 9,728 planes in the air carrying 1,270,406 people around the world. Every crew on each of these planes depends on having accurate, readable, flight manuals on their aircraft.

The Aviation industry has addressed the issue of how best to encode and decode information by establishing the S1000D standard for creating documentation. This standard uses a controlled vocabulary or language called Simplified Technical English.

You could study these and see if they embody concepts that could be applied to your idea.

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