I never read the introduction of an article, seldom the discussion section, but I always scan the methods and sometimes (if the methods warrant it) also the tables and figures. It seems that I am not alone here.
The survey indicated that individuals at different career stages valued different sections of scientific papers, and skill in reading the results section develops slowly over the course of an academic career.
So why do we still write papers with an introduction that is longer than 1 sentence?
When I prepared a lecture last year on scientific paper writing I have found countless advices how to tell a story – it made it even into elife.
Don’t do that – there are lies and damned lies (Disraeli) while you are easily running into a trap when trying to “tell a story”. Preregister your study plan, tell the world what you did right from the beginning, what did not work, why you repeated an experiment or why changed your opinion.
Writing a story from the backend distorts the proportions and misdirects attention. Ulrich Dirnagl highlighted this problem in an earlier talk here in March using the following two slides.
From a recent call for a conference in my mailbox ( July 17th, Orlando, Florida, KGCM 2012
Richard Smith also affirmed that regarding peer review there is “more evidence of harm than benefit…[and] Studies so far have shown that it is slow, expensive, ineffective, something of a lottery, prone to bias and abuse, and hopeless at spotting errors and fraud.”
Smith, R, 2006, “The trouble with medical journals,” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Vol. 99, March, 2006, p. 116 (accessed at http://jrsm.rsmjournals.com/content/99/3/115.full.pdf)
It is interesting to see, how journals are trying to increase their market visibility – Nature has becoming famous for their investment in Second Life? Just recently I received an email that JACI – the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology – has now opened an account at Facebook. Continue reading Do we need scientific journals at social networks?→
-moblog- Probably inspired by reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon “La Sombra del Viento – Shadow of the Wind – Schatten des Windes” telling about a cemetry of books I wonder whether it would make sense to
have also a cemetry of rejected papers. Would that be useful to have an arXiv.org-like access to papers that will otherwise be forgotten? Yea, yea.