Three ways ChatGPT helps me in my academic writing

Generative AI can be a valuable aid in writing, editing and peer review – if you use it responsibly, says Dritjon Gruda.


By Dritjon Gruda


Dritjon Gruda is an invited associate professor of organizational behavior at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa in Lisbon, the Católica Porto Business School and the Research Centre in Management and Economics.


Jon Gruda

For Dritjon Gruda, artificial-intelligence chatbots have been a huge help in scientific writing and peer review.Credit: Vladimira Stavreva-Gruda.


Confession time: I use generative artificial intelligence (AI). Despite the debate over whether chatbots are positive or negative forces in academia, I use these tools almost daily to refine the phrasing in papers that I’ve written, and to seek an alternative assessment of work I’ve been asked to evaluate, as either a reviewer or an editor. AI even helped me to refine this article.

告解时间:我使用生成型人工智能(AI)。尽管关于聊天机器人在学术界是积极力量还是消极力量的争论不断,我几乎每天都使用这些工具来改进我所写论文的措辞,并寻求对我被要求评审或编辑的工作的另一种评估。甚至这篇文章也是由 AI 帮助我改进的。

Polishing academic writing 润色学术写作

Ever heard the property mantra, ‘location, location, location’? In the world of generative AI, it’s ‘context, context, context’.


Context is king. You can’t expect generative AI — or anything or anyone, for that matter — to provide a meaningful response to a question without it. When you’re using a chatbot to refine a section of your paper for clarity, start by outlining the context. What is your paper about, and what is your main argument? Jot down your ideas in any format — even bullet points will work. Then, present this information to the generative AI of your choice. I typically use ChatGPT, made by OpenAI in San Francisco, California, but for tasks that demand a deep understanding of language nuances, such as analysing search queries or text, I find Gemini, developed by researchers at Google, to be particularly effective. The open-source large language models made by Mixtral, based in Paris, are ideal when you’re working offline but still need assistance from a chatbot.

语境为王。无论是生成式 AI,还是任何事物或任何人,都无法在没有语境的情况下对问题作出有意义的回应。当你使用聊天机器人来改进论文中的某个部分以使其更清晰时,请先概述一下语境。你的论文是关于什么的?你的主要论点是什么?以任何格式记下你的想法——即使是要点也可以。然后,将这些信息提供给你选择的生成式 AI。我通常使用由位于加利福尼亚州旧金山的 OpenAI 公司开发的 ChatGPT,但对于那些需要深刻理解语言细微差别的任务,例如分析搜索查询或文本,我发现由谷歌研究人员开发的 Gemini 特别有效。当你离线工作但仍需要聊天机器人协助时,位于巴黎的 Mixtral 公司开发的开源大型语言模型是理想的选择。

Regardless of which generative-AI tool you choose, the key to success lies in providing precise instructions. The clearer you are, the better. For example, you might write: “I’m writing a paper on [topic] for a leading [discipline] academic journal. What I tried to say in the following section is [specific point]. Please rephrase it for clarity, coherence and conciseness, ensuring each paragraph flows into the next. Remove jargon. Use a professional tone.” You can use the same technique again later on, to clarify your responses to reviewer comments.

无论选择哪个生成式 AI 工具,成功的关键在于提供精确的指示。你的指示越清晰,效果越好。例如,你可以写:“我正在为一家领先的[学科]学术期刊撰写一篇关于[主题]的论文。我在以下部分试图表达的内容是[具体观点]。请将其重新表述,使其更加清晰、连贯和简洁,确保每一段都自然衔接。去除行话。使用专业语气。”你也可以在后来使用同样的技巧,来澄清对审稿人意见的回应。

Remember, the chatbot’s first reply might not be perfect — it’s a collaborative and iterative process. You might need to refine your instructions or add more information, much as you would when discussing a concept with a colleague. It’s the interaction that improves the results. If something doesn’t quite hit the mark, don’t hesitate to say, “This isn’t quite what I meant. Let’s adjust this part.” Or you can commend its improvements: “This is much clearer, but let’s tweak the ending for a stronger transition to the next section.”


This approach can transform a challenging task into a manageable one, filling the page with insights you might not have fully gleaned on your own. It’s like having a conversation that opens new perspectives, making generative AI a collaborative partner in the creative process of developing and refining ideas. But importantly, you are using the AI as a sounding board: it is not writing your document for you; nor is it reviewing manuscripts.


Elevating peer review 提升同行评审

Generative AI can be a valuable tool in the peer-review process. After thoroughly reading a manuscript, summarize key points and areas for review. Then, use the AI to help organize and articulate your feedback (without directly inputting or uploading the manuscript’s text, thus avoiding privacy concerns). For example, you might instruct the AI: “Assume you’re an expert and seasoned scholar with 20+ years of academic experience in [field]. On the basis of my summary of a paper in [field], where the main focus is on [general topic], provide a detailed review of this paper, in the following order: 1) briefly discuss its core content; 2) identify its limitations; and 3) explain the significance of each limitation in order of importance. Maintain a concise and professional tone throughout.”

生成型人工智能可以在同行评审过程中成为一个有价值的工具。在彻底阅读手稿后,总结关键点和需要审查的领域。然后,使用人工智能来帮助组织和表达你的反馈(不要直接输入或上传手稿的文本,从而避免隐私问题)。例如,你可能会指示人工智能:“假设你是一位在[领域]有 20 多年学术经验的专家和资深学者。根据我对一篇在[领域]中,主要集中在[一般主题]的论文摘要,提供一份详细的评审,顺序如下:1)简要讨论其核心内容;2)指出其局限性;3)按重要性顺序解释每个局限性的意义。保持简洁和专业的语调。”

I’ve found that AI partnerships can be incredibly enriching; the tools often offer perspectives I hadn’t considered. For instance, ChatGPT excels at explaining and justifying the reasons behind specific limitations that I had identified in my review, which helps me to grasp the broader implications of the study’s contribution. If I identify methodological limitations, ChatGPT can elaborate on these in detail and suggest ways to overcome them in a revision. This feedback often helps me to connect the dots between the limitations and their collective impact on the paper’s overall contribution. Occasionally, however, its suggestions are off-base, far-fetched, irrelevant or simply wrong. And that is why the final responsibility for the review always remains with you. A reviewer must be able to distinguish between what is factual and what is not, and no chatbot can reliably do that.

我发现,人工智能合作可以极大地丰富研究;这些工具经常提供我未曾考虑过的视角。例如,ChatGPT 擅长解释和证明我在评审中发现的特定限制背后的原因,这有助于我理解研究贡献的更广泛影响。如果我发现方法上的限制,ChatGPT 可以详细阐述这些限制,并建议在修订中克服它们的方法。这种反馈经常帮助我将限制与它们对论文整体贡献的集体影响联系起来。然而,有时它的建议是离题的、牵强的、不相关的或完全错误的。这就是为什么评审的最终责任始终在于你。评审者必须能够区分事实和非事实,而没有任何聊天机器人能够可靠地做到这一点。

Optimizing editorial feedback 优化编辑反馈

The final area in which I benefit from using chatbots is in my role as a journal editor. Providing constructive editorial feedback to authors can be challenging, especially when you oversee several manuscripts every week. Having personally received countless pieces of unhelpful, non-specific feedback — such as, “After careful consideration, we have decided not to proceed with your manuscript” — I recognize the importance of clear and constructive communication. ChatGPT has become indispensable in this process, helping me to craft precise, empathetic and actionable feedback without replacing human editorial decisions.

我在使用聊天机器人时受益的最后一个方面是我作为期刊编辑的角色。向作者提供建设性的编辑反馈可能是一个挑战,尤其是当你每周要审阅几篇稿件时。我个人收到过无数不具体且无用的反馈,例如:“经过仔细考虑,我们决定不继续处理您的稿件。”因此,我认识到清晰和建设性沟通的重要性。在这个过程中,ChatGPT 变得不可或缺,帮助我撰写精确、富有同情心且可执行的反馈,而不会取代人工编辑的决定。

For instance, after evaluating a paper and noting its pros and cons, I might feed these into ChatGPT and get it to draft a suitable letter: “On the basis of these notes, draft a letter to the author. Highlight the manuscript’s key issues and clearly explain why the manuscript, despite its interesting topic, might not provide a substantial enough advancement to merit publication. Avoid jargon. Be direct. Maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout.” Again, it might take a few iterations to get the tone and content just right.

例如,在评估一篇论文并记录其优缺点后,我可能会将这些输入到 ChatGPT 中,并让它起草一封合适的信件:“根据这些笔记,起草一封给作者的信件。突出手稿的主要问题,并清楚解释为什么尽管手稿的主题有趣,但可能不足以提供足够的进步以值得发表。避免术语。直截了当。始终保持专业和尊重的语气。” 同样,可能需要进行几次迭代才能使语气和内容恰到好处。

I’ve found that this approach both enhances the quality of my feedback and helps to guarantee that I convey my thoughts supportively. The result is a more positive and productive dialogue between editors and authors.


There is no doubt that generative AI presents challenges to the scientific community. But it can also enhance the quality of our work. These tools can bolster our capabilities in writing, reviewing and editing. They preserve the essence of scientific inquiry — curiosity, critical thinking and innovation — while improving how we communicate our research.


Considering the benefits, what are you waiting for?



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