Use the present tense when a fact has been published

Generalizations, references to stable conditions, and general "truths" should be given in the present tense. When scientific information has been validly published in a primary journal, it likewise becomes established knowledge. Therefore, use the present tense when writing about it. In this way, you show respect for the scientist's work. Similarly, when previously published work is mentioned, and the author is cited parenthetically or by footnote number, the sentence usually should be written in the present tense.

Serological tests commonly are used for the diagnosis of T. cruzi infections.

Several recent reports (2, 3, 6) describe similar findings. This phenomenon determines the absorption coefficient of the tissue (Christensen et al., 1978).

In giving the author's name non-parenthetically as a source of the information, one can use either past or present tense for the verb that is linked to the author. However, the part of the sentence that refers to the scientific work itself is still given in the present tense.

Smith (1975) showed that streptomycin inhibits growth of the disease organism.

The investigations of Graff (1932) show that the structure is a true perithecium.

Jones (1978) does not believe that streptomycin is effective. Boice (1912) did not believe that Diplococcus exists.

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