Friday, January 6, 2012

How to Read (And How Not to Write) a Scientific Paper

A friend of mine just emailed me this. Hits too close to home...

Update: Part II

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10 comments:

  1. Oh man... I only ever wrote MSc level lab/research reports, but this hits too close to home. :-) Actually painful to read...

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  2. Umacachopa - go ahead, just link it here, please:-)

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  3. A friend of mine did the same, I'll try to dig it up, it's very funny too!!!
    Esmeralda @ www.sciencesosexy.blogspot.com

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  4. Here it is:
    The author writes:
    It has long been known.
    REALLY means:
    I haven't bothered to look it up.

    The author writes:
    It is believed.
    REALLY means:
    I think.

    The author writes:
    It is generally believed.
    REALLY means:
    A couple of other guys think so too.

    The author writes:
    It is not unreasonable to assume.
    REALLY means:
    If you believe this, you'll believe anything.

    The author writes:
    Of great theoretical importance.
    REALLY means:
    I find it kind of interesting.

    The author writes:
    Of great practical importance.
    REALLY means:
    I can get some mileage out of it.

    The author writes:
    Typical results are shown.
    REALLY means:
    The best results are shown.

    The author writes:
    Three samples were chosen for further study.
    REALLY means:
    The others didn't make sense, so we ignored them.

    The author writes:
    The 4 hour sample was not studied.
    REALLY means:
    I dropped it on the floor.

    The author writes:
    The 4 hour determination may not be significant.
    REALLY means:
    I dropped it on the floor, but scooped most of it up.

    The author writes:
    The significance of these results is unclear.
    REALLY means:
    Look at the pretty artifact.

    The author writes:
    It has not been possible to provide definitive answers.
    REALLY means:
    The experiment was negative, but at least I can publish the data somewhere.

    The author writes:
    Correct within an order of magnitude.
    REALLY means:
    Wrong.

    The author writes:
    It might be argued that.
    REALLY means:
    I have such a good answer for that objection that I shall now raise it.

    The author writes:
    Much additional work will be required.
    REALLY means:
    This paper is not very good, but neither are all the others in this miserable field.

    The author writes:
    These investigations proved highly rewarding.
    REALLY means:
    My grant is going to be renewed.

    The author writes:
    I thank Smith for assistance with the experiments and Jones for useful discussions on the interpretation of the data.
    REALLY means:
    Smith did the experiment and Jones explained it to me.

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  5. Thanks! Done! =)
    My favourite is the last one.

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  6. I don't think I've laughed so much in a while :)

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