“12 Types Of Scientific Paper” Meme Is Making Academic Twitter Feel Seen


Rachael Funnell

Social Editor and Staff Writer

clockMay 7 2021, 17:23 UTC
Cartoonist's "Types Of Scientific Paper" Are Striking A Chord Across Academic Twitter

A recent and revealing cartoon from webcomic xkcd recently summarized, pretty succinctly, what some of the journals’ most frequent visitors see. Image credit: xkcd, CC BY-NC 2.5

Reading scientific papers can reveal fascinating, obscure, and far-reaching insights into life on this planet and beyond. However, if you’re someone who reads or writes them a lot, you’ve likely become familiar with certain genres of research – and there's nothing quite like wading through oceans of citations to take away a little of that New Paper shine. 

A recent and revealing cartoon from webcomic xkcd recently summarized, pretty succinctly, what some of the journals’ most frequent visitors see when flicking through emerging research. Personal favorites from the original cartoon include “what are fish even doing down there” and “we scanned some undergraduates”.

Image credit: xkcdCC BY-NC 2.5

While, to the uninitiated, the academic value of once again watching a bunch of (probably C. elegans) worms roll around may be lost, the repetition of these study formats of course doesn't subtract from their value. Fortunately (as these three-word fieldwork horror stories demonstrate), some of science's greatest are also some of its funniest, and edited versions of the original comic soon began to emerge on Twitter.

Scroll with caution, some might strike pretty close to home.


*The entire IFLScience Editorial Team looks shifty*


Sweet, sweet hallucinogens.


Speaking of massive genomes... did you see the genome sequencing of a platypus? That baby is full of some juicy adaptations.


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