Guest post by Magnus Palmblad
Tomorrow, May 14, 2022, is the Grand Final of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest, with hundreds of millions of fans across Europe (from Azerbaijan to Australia) spending their Saturday evening watching one of the greatest spectacles on television. Explaining Eurovision to American friends, especially those who haven’t seen The Story of Fire Saga is nearly impossible. But in 2016, when Sweden played host after Måns Zelmerlöw’s win the previous year, Edward af Sillén and Fredrik Kempe co-wrote a teasing love letter to Eurovision, outlining the recipe for a winner. Stuffed with references to past performances, the number was memorably performed by Petra Mede (of the “Bonus Family” on Netflix) and Måns Zelmerlöw, making it the highlight of that year’s show.
Remarkably, and with only minor modification, this recipe provides just as sound advice for writing a winning scientific paper:
Get everyone’s attention
A powerful, majestic title
Step two, Drums!
Drum home the main points
In the abstract and again in the introduction, results and conclusions
Show the viewers the background of your work
Use a narrative to explain where you come from
(But don’t just cite old men)
Use intuitive plots, like violins
Trust us, bring a violin
Cite some thirty year old results as recent
In science, it will give your paper a contemporary feel
Step six, TOC graphic!
You paper needs to look memorable
Something that the viewers will notice
Step seven, the content!
Everything else might be important, but the content is essential
Let it be about something everyone can connect to
When you have all the pieces are gathered
Go for it and don’t look back!
This and other posts by Magnus Palmblad on science, its history and research integrity can be found on Loose Leaves.