Scientific Writing is a Tragicomedy! Destroy!

Modern scientific writing – both in the exercises of writing and reading – is obtuse and uninviting.  Rather than clearly communicate an unbiased reflection of the conduct and findings of a particular study, the medical literature most commonly succeeds in doing the opposite.  After all, how else would I find enough to complain about on this blog?

This editorial elucidates so many joyfully preposterous notions it cannot help yet be loved.  It is best described as a no holds-barred cagematch versus all the inane pageantry of scientific writing.  Just a few of the gems, paraphrased:

  • Don’t let the authors write the abstract; they’ll just misrepresent the study!
  • Delete the introduction; uninsightful filler.
  • No one cares the brand and manufacturer of the statistical package used.
  • Unequal composite end-points and subgroup analyses should be banished.
  • The discussion section only serves authors’ purposes of dubious claims through selective reporting and biased interpretation of their results.

Some elements of this brief report are, indeed, novel.  Others are simply accepted best practices long since forgotten.  Regardless, it is a refreshing reminder of how brutally poorly the current medical literature serves effective knowledge translation.

“Ill communication: What’s wrong with the medical literature and how to fix it.”