What I Think About When I Think About Manuscripts – I, Editor – Henry Gee’s blog on Nature Network
Perhaps what I am getting at is that scientific papers tend to be static. The best literature – of any kind – has a beginning, a middle and an end, in which the protagonists undertake some kind of journey, whether geographical or spiritual, and are changed by their experiences. In scientific papers, the results often give us no clue to the back story – the reason why the researchers were studying this system or that, and the tale of chances and mistakes and serendipity that led them to that point. The only readable parts tend to be the introduction, in which literature is summarized (a classic case of telling but not showing) and the discussion (in which the new result is integrated into what is already known).