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The Da Vinci Code and the alphabet of research

We offer an alphabetical guide into the opaque and mystical world of research

Many are called to do research, but few are chosen. How is this possible in an era of improved gender equality, educational access and global connectivity? The answer lies in the secret “Da Vinci Code” of research: the unwritten interpretation of the alphabet of research that touches us all through serial rejection of grant applications and scientific articles. Out of a sense of duty to fellow researchers, and with just a subtle hint of projection, we have chosen to share the secrets of this Code with you.

A is for analysis: biochemical analysis, statistical analysis and the psychoanalysis needed after a few years in a research career. A is also for ambivalent.

B is for blot. There is nothing like a Western blot to induce a collective lather of excitement in a room full of lab scientists — talented, bespectacled people with terrible skin, seldom seen during daylight. B is also for borrowing, a kinder word than plagiarism.

C is for Cochrane reviews. More righteous than a reformed smoker, the Cochrane collaborator preaches the eternal benefits of telling the wood from the forest plots. C is also for consistency, reflected in the universal finding of…