Scientist-authors and editors debate the importance and meaning of creativity and offer tips on how to write a top paper.
It can be a delight to creatively bend the rules, but you need to know them first.Countless manuscripts are rejected because the discussion section is so weak that it’s obvious the writer does not clearly understand the existing literature.Writers should put their results into a global context to demonstrate what makes those results significant or original. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS.To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer).Create a logical framework Brett Mensh, scientific adviser, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, Virginia; consultant, science communications. If you don’t get the structure right, you have no hope. For the whole paper, the introduction sets the context, the results present the content and the discussion brings home the conclusion.It’s crucial to focus your paper on a single key message, which you communicate in the title.Think about the message you want to give to readers.If that is not clear, misinterpretations may arise later.And a clear message is even more important when there is a multidisciplinary group of authors, which is increasingly common.I encourage groups to sit together in person and seek consensus — not only in the main message, but also in the selection of data, the visual presentation and the information necessary to transmit a strong message.