|Types of Scientific Paper|
Title text: Others include "We've incrementally improved the estimate of this coefficient," "Maybe all these categories are wrong," and "We found a way to make student volunters worse at tasks."
|| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a RESEARCH DEPARTMENT ON A LUNCHBREAK. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
In this comic, Randall describes categories of scientific papers with somewhat humorous generalized titles.
Breakdown of Papers
|We put a camera somewhere new
|Hey, I found a trove of old records! They don't turn out to be particularly useful, but still, cool!
|My colleague is wrong and I can finally prove it
|| This title refers to the occasional rivalries between scientists within a field, which can push them to seek proof that they, and not their colleague, are correct.
||Note the single author listed, and the lack of headers, suggesting an argument more than an explanation of data
|The immune system is at it again
||The human immune system is notoriously complex, and there are countless papers in medical fields just describing its strangeness
|We figured out how to make this exotic material, so email us if you need some
||Researchers often attempt to create materials despite there not being any demand, predicting that in the future their material will be game-changing without any actual applications. These researchers have created such a material, and are offering to produce it for anyone who needs it
|What are fish even doing down there
||Deep sea marine biology regularly discovers strange lifeforms in unexpected places, and theories explaining deep sea ecosystems are regularly confounded by new data.
||This paper does not appear to have any headers
|This task I had to do anyway turned out to be hard enough for its own paper
||There is a huge variety in the complexity and importance of subjects studied in scientific papers, and often some supposedly easy task will be sufficiently complicated as to merit its own paper.
|Hey, at least we showed that this method can produce results! That's not nothing, right?
||One of the struggles of the scientific method is that many experiments will not produce the results scientists desired or expected. These results are still (sometimes) important, but are often ignored compared to research with important findings
|Check out this weird thing one of us saw while out for a walk
|We are 500 scientists and here's what we've been up to for the last 10 years
|| Some papers summarize the work of big research teams, like those working on the Higgs Boson (list of authors starts at page 17) or LIGO. Since the discoveries which are made are a team effort, the papers have many authors listed.
||A huge portion of the page is taken up by the presumably 500 authors' names, above the main horizontal bar.
|Some thoughts on how everyone else is bad at research
|We scanned some undergraduates
||Undergraduate students often volunteer to participate in studies, to the point where it has been described in social psychology as WEIRD: White Educated students from Industrialized Rich Democratic societies
Trivia: Originally, this comic's title text misspelt volunteers as volunters. This may be intentional (WE might be the volunteers). This was quickly corrected.
|| This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
Title: Types of Scientific Paper
An array of scientific papers is shown, with only their titles legible. Titles are as follows:
We put a camera somewhere new
Hey, I found a trove of old records! They don't turn out to be particularly useful, but still, cool!
My colleague is wrong and I can finally prove it
The immune system is at it again
We figured out how to make this exotic material, so email us if you need some
What are fish even doing down there
This task I had to do anyway turned out to be hard enough for its own paper
Hey, at least we showed that this method can produce results! That's not nothing, right?
Check out this weird thing one of us saw while out for a walk
We are 500 scientists and here's what we've been up to for the last 10 years
Some thoughts on how everyone else is bad at research
We scanned some undergraduates
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!
I've a feeling we could find actual papers that paraphrase down to those in the comic. Also, lol at the 500 scientists' "citation" section. 184.108.40.206 20:36, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
As we edit this we should probably pay attention to the content / layout of the article images: The number of lines beneath the title and layout of each "paper" he's drawn could be relevant to the joke. For example, the "500 scientists" presumably have a massive authors list, and the one on how "everyone else is doing it wrong" has a single author and a particularly "article-esque" layout.
220.127.116.11 21:04, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
- True. Do you think we should add another column describing the pictured paper to the explanation chart?
Reywas (talk) 21:06, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
For the "student volunteers" paper, many experiments involve adding hurdles for the participants to deal with. Like interrupting them, depriving them of sleep, adding distracting information, etc. It's not uncommon that these make them worse at the tasks. So this is just another research paper like that. Barmar (talk) 01:24, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
- Isn't the 'hurdles' style of paper WAY more common than the proposed psychological experiment? It's describing a simple tasks cognitive function test. They run those all the time to prove the effects of oxygen, caffeine, sleep, sugar, music, trauma, comfortable chairs, the color yellow, etc. I can't recall seeing ANY paper like the suggested psychology experiment to make people unlearn skills, let alone enough for that to be a whole category.
Nobody has pointed out that the "Maybe all these categories are wrong" title directly pertains to this very comic... John.Adriaan (talk) 02:17, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
- I think that’s the more likely ‘correct’ interpretation, honestly. Maybe we should add more detail now that it’s mentioned? Tague (talk) 12:56, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
- At the least the list of categories is incomplete. The broader question is whether there are concentrations of papers in some areas of feature space (a subjectively plausible conclusion - I could offer some examples from botany such as "we compared the performance of several cultivars of a crop species under specific conditions") or do papers fall into a relatively flat continuum in that space. 18.104.22.168 11:35, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Should we add another colum to include the corresponding LaTeX template? Some of them seem like that could easily be found.
These are titles of papers, so shouldn't each word be capitalized? For example: "We Put a Camera Somewhere New". I realize that the original is in all caps, but that's because that's the usual format for comics . . . . 22.214.171.124 10:45, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
- Paper titles are usually not capitalized, contrary to journal names. You can see an example at the Higgs Boson paper cited in the comic description (there are, of course, others.) 126.96.36.199 11:32, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Why does the explanation say "There are no headers" for the "We put a camera somewhere new" paper? I assume "headers" refers to "section headers", of which I see more in the camera-paper than in e.g. the immune system-paper (or the old records-paper). 188.8.131.52 11:25, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
- Probably referring to the lack of actual legible text for us to comment on the content of the paper. Tague (talk) 12:49, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
- I feel that the assumption made in a lot of the table that the text in each Paper is meant to be their literal title, is wrong. It strikes me more as an humorous explanation of "what sort of paper this is" for instance the first paper would indicate that a relevant category of scientific papers are about a camera being put someplace new and the data/photo's gathered from that, rather than an example of "clickbait". The actual papers in that category would presumably have an actual name relating to where the camera was actually put. 14:29, 29 April 2021 (UTC)~
- I interpret them as a mix of "over-generalized" headlines and less-than-literal summaries of that general sort of paper's content. Tague (talk) 14:41, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
- I read (e.g., for starters) "We put a camera somewhere new" both as very true to the emotional spirit and a paraphrasing of the true archetype membership being referenced - such as something like "Rat-mounted cameras for remote surveying of sewer pipes" (if that's not already been done, which I suspect it has!), etc. I suspect there's a few "one weird thing"-inspired titles out there, influenced by modern 'headline' links (with or without self-awareness), and know there's a whole history of "my colleague is wrong!" papers, even if not in exactly that wording, pushing the author's own biases in a self-important ranting style, or a rambling one that's an unstructured manifesto of 'thoughts' about all prior 'experts' on a pet issue. There's some deconstruction involved, but with easy reconstruction back to reality. 184.108.40.206 19:54, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Should this (and any others, which I think likely exist or are about to) go in the main article?
"With apologies to Mr. Munroe, may we present: Types of Radio Astronomy Papers"
— JohnHawkinson (talk) 18:40, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
- These are good fun, but I don't think we are gonna put it up in image form in the main article. Maybe a section of external links will do. --220.127.116.11 00:56, 1 May 2021 (UTC)
- I don't think that links are a very effective way to show these. I feel like they need to be a gallery. Perhaps it should be a separate wiki page that is linked from the main article?
- Here are some more:
- — JohnHawkinson (talk) 13:45, 1 May 2021 (UTC)
The meme is now so popular there is an article in the atlantic about it; maybe that should be included:
- --18.104.22.168 14:28, 7 May 2021 (UTC)