Idiot things that we we do in our papers out of sheer habit
April 10, 2013
Is there any justification for any of these practices other than tradition?
- Choosing titles that deliberately omit new taxon names.
- Slicing the manuscript to fit an arbitrary length limit.
- Squeezing the narrative into a fixed set of sections (Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusion).
- Discarding or combining illustrations to avoid exceding an arbitrary count.
- Flattening illustrations to monochrome.
- Using passive instead of active voice (especially in singular: “we did this” may be acceptable but not “I did this” for some reason).
- Giving the taxonomic authority after first use of each formal name.
- Listing institutional abbreviations at end of the Introduction section, several pages into the paper.
- Using initials for names in the acknowledgements.
- Refusing to cite in-prep papers, dissertations and blogs (while accepting pers. comm.)
- Using numbered citations instead of Author+Date.
- Using journal abbreviations such as “J. Vertebr. Paleontol.” in the references.
- Formatting references
- Having references at all, rather than links.
- Putting figure captions and tables at end the end of the manuscript instead of where they occur.
- Arbitrarily relegating parts of the manuscript to Supplementary information.
- Submitting images in TIFF format (even for born-as-JPEG photos).
- Double-spacing manuscripts.
- Writing cover letters for submissions.
- Throwing away reviews once they’ve been handled.
- Allowing the final product to go behind a paywall.
Did I miss any?