FORMAT AND ARRANGEMENT

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6.29  SCIENTIFIC & NUMERICAL NOTATION

As stated in the recommendations of the Thirtieth World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO), the WHO “…recommends the adoption to the use of SI units by the entire scientific community, and particularly the medical community throughout the world.”

In some cases for the sake of improving readability, it may be appropriate to express the units in both Systeme International (SI) and, the less-scientific form in parentheses. For example, most people still think in terms of calories (more appropriately kilocalories or kcal) than in Joules (the SI unit of electrical, mechanical, and thermal energy). More careful word usage would be “…contained 2510 J (600 kcal)…”.

When giving a decimal value of less than one (1.0), always precede the decimal point with a zero.

unacceptable
 
preferred
.75 μmol/L 0.75 μmol/L

This style of notation avoids confusion as to whether or not the spot on the paper is a decimal point. Note that the symbol for liter is always a capital L rather than lower case to avoid confusion with the numeral “1″.

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