I’m Dr David Barden, and I’m the founder of Clearly Scientific Ltd. I believe that great working relationships happen when writer and client understand each other, so to start us off, here’s a little bit about me.
Broad scientific education
After growing up in the leafy countryside of West Devon, UK, I went to Cambridge University, where I did a four-year undergraduate course with an emphasis on chemistry (as well as a substantial amount of physics, materials science and maths).
I then stayed at Cambridge for my Ph.D. in organosilicon chemistry, under the expert guidance of Professor Ian Fleming, who amongst many other things showed me the art of scientific writing. At the same time, I became interested in wildlife conservation and botanical recording – interests that I maintain to this day.
High-quality scientific publishing
Unlike some of my colleagues in the lab, I found that I actually quite enjoyed writing up my Ph.D. thesis (it’s amazing how many ways there are of saying that a reaction didn’t work as expected!). Although I wasn’t to know it at the time, it was this that set me on my current career path. I first found a position at Wiley-VCH in Germany, where I assisted in the peer-review and editing of their scientific journals. I then moved back to the UK, where I spent seven years at Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing, dealing with manuscripts from receipt through to publication, as well as compiling journal issues and creating abstracts of scientific articles.
During that time, as well as developing an eagle eye for grammar, punctuation, spelling, clarity and consistency, I also wrote over 40 short articles describing scientific research for the RSC’s magazines, including Chemistry World. As well as being fun to do, this was great training in telling a compelling story while being true to the science and explaining complex concepts clearly.
Business writing and document design
My move in 2011 to analytical instrument manufacturer Markes International marked a step-change in my career – writing words to sell products. It required quite an adjustment in mindset to move from the academic to the commercial, but I was soon confidently applying my editorial and writing experience to refine their technical and marketing literature on equipment for monitoring organic chemicals.
During my eight years at Markes I worked on everything from white papers and blog posts, to case-studies and (successful) award submissions, which gave me fantastic practice at using different styles of writing for different purposes. At the same time – and just as importantly – I learnt how to use Adobe InDesign to produce top-quality layouts, helping the company’s literature ‘punch above its weight’ in a field dominated by much larger global competitors.
How can I help you?
Now, in setting up Clearly Scientific, I’m offering all these skills to your organisation. To put it briefly: I can understand the science, I know how to put it down in words, and I know how to present it all professionally.