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21 Brutal, Honest And Relatable Things That Happened In Academic Publishing

Publish AND perish?

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1. This TEN YEAR gap between a journal getting the paper and publishing it.

Take your publishing sob stories and tell them to the first author of this paper

2. This author affiliation that you will never live up to.

That author affiliation will never be topped. h/t @Neuteufel

"Barack Obama, JD¹

¹President of the United States, Washington, DC"

3. This gleefully specific book acknowledgments page.


4. This footnote that is a little too honest.

"Authors are listed in order of degree of belief in central thesis"

5. This very detailed methods section...

Thinkstock / / Via

"Resting cows were approached with caution and startled by loud shouting, whereupon the cows rapidly stood up, defecated, and moved away from the source of the annoyance."

7. This admission, which anyone who's ever done a literature review can relate to.


8. This interesting way of dealing with writer's block.

Here's the definitive research on writer's block. @raulpacheco #PublishOrPerish

9. This spectacularly cringeworthy sentence that somehow got left in a published paper.

#overlyhonestmethods HOW did this get through? HOW? (from @davidjayharris)


12. This draft acknowledgments section that is a bit too real for any scientist who's worked with rodents.

My acknowledgements section in my thesis.

"I would like to thank the rat community for the true sacrifices it makes in the name of science."

13. This relatable admission.

From my PhD thesis Acknowledgements page. Written in 1996/97

"I'd like to thank the Internet, without which this thesis would probably have been complete nine months earlier."

14. And this one.

me writing the acknowledgements section of my thesis

"To Beyonce, for dropping #LEMONADE when I needed the inspiration the most – 'I'mma keep running cause a winner don't quit on themselves.'"


16. This addition to the author contributions section. / Via

"The caffeine molecule is responsible for all that is good about this manuscript."

20. This unexpected thank you.

My favorite Acknowledgements (and a wonderful closing paragraph for a theory paper too!) #overlyhonestreviews

"BJH would like to thank the U.S. Immigration Service under the Bush administration, whose via background security check forced her to spend two months (following an international conference) in a third country, free of routine obligations – it was during this time that the hypothesis presented herein was initially conjectured."

Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Kelly Oakes at

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