Professor Paul S. Weiss, UC Presidential Chair, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and of Materials Science and Engineering and Editor-in-Chief of ACS Nano, says he prepares a figure set before the data is even available. Doing this can help chemists map out what’s missing from your research. It also lays the work out into a sort of storyboard.
Professor Phil S Baran, Darlene Shiley Chair in Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute and Associate Editor of Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) equates writing a paper to writing a children’s novel. “It starts with the illustrations,” Baran says, “it’s what we do. We work on the pictures first.” Baran goes on to explain that most people don’t have time to go through an entire research paper, so the figures should be able to tell much of the story.
Another approach is to storyboard all of your data. Professor Peter License, of University of Nottingham and Associate Editor of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, says once you have all the figures in front of you, you can see if they prove that the research answered the initial question.
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