Three tips for writing a Behind the Paper post

Behind the Paper is a popular channel where we invite authors to write about their recently published research article.

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I often get asked what makes a good Behind the Paper post, so here are my three top tips. Feel free to add your own experiences and examples in the comments section!

  1. Make it personal – tell the story behind the study, what worked well and what didn’t. Include anecdotes about people you met at conferences, or in the bar, who you collaborated with and who helped the project.
  2. Use images – I can’t say this enough. Images really help elevate the attractiveness of the posts. Field or clinical work clearly lends itself to images, and schematics look good, but you can also post photos of the experiments or the experimenters. We can also host animations or other videos as well as video abstracts - either within the post or in a separate video post.
  3. Speculate – The conclusion of your research article must be supported by the data. Use the freedom of your community post to speculate on what the results might mean or what opportunities this opens up for the future.

Once you’ve written your post, make sure you wait until the day of publication to post it. We don’t want you to break your own embargo!

I would also encourage you to think about other relevant posts for the community – this could be a recent news story, a conference you have attended or other published research.

I’m always available to answer any general questions you have about our communities. Just comment on this post or send me an email!

Ben Johnson

Magazine Editor, Nature Medicine, Springer Nature

I trained as a virologist, starting with an undergraduate degree in virology from the University of Warwick, UK. My PhD, in influenza virus genetics and immunoevasion, was from Public Health England and the University of Reading, UK, with Maria Zambon and Wendy Barclay. My research interests then moved to smallpox vaccines, viral ion channels and cell adhesion, while a postdoc at Imperial College London with Geoffrey Smith, FRS. I then joined open-access publisher BioMed Central in 2011 as an editor and then associate publisher and was Head of Communities & Engagement at Springer Nature from 2016, running the Nature Research Communities and other online engagement activities for researchers. I joined Nature Medicine in 2021, with responsibility for news and opinion content, and am based in the London office.