Scientific Discovery

Top 10 stories of 2014

Our most viewed articles featured publishing tips, career advice, the Nobel laureates — and a 14-year-old science prodigy

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In 2014, the 300+ stories on Elsevier Connect featured everything from free-access programs to how to submit an article editors will take seriously — or deal with "co-authors gone bad." We selected those with the most unique views to feature in our Top 10. Overall, Elsevier Connect received nearly 1.4 million views in the past year.

Our contributors are members of the global science and health communities —  researchers, professors, students, medical practitioners, librarians, authors, science writers, and the publishing colleagues at Elsevier who work closely with them, many having worked as researchers and clinicians themselves. [divider]

1. The hidden profession that saves lives 

By Rodney E. Rohde, PhD | Posted on 11 February 2014

The Hidden Profession that Saves LivesWhat's the secret to writing stories thousands of people will read, share and comment on? Professor Rodney Rohde, Chair of the Clinical Laboratory Science program at Texas State University, has found his own winning formula by writing about what he knows in a way that is useful to readers — using simple language that conveys his friendliness and enthusiasm.

In "The hidden profession that saves lives," he describes a career path for students who love science and want to put their skills to use in a hospital or laboratory after graduation. He says Medical Laboratory Science (also called Clinical Laboratory Science) is one of the most under-recognized health professions – with excellent job prospects. And he includes a wealth of information for those who may want to pursue it, including academic requirements, salary range, job activities, and the traits you would need to enjoy and excel at it.

On Facebook alone, the story has received 36,551 likes, 9,297 shares and 5,501 comments.

His previous stories are "Ten tips to finishing your PhD faster," "A secret weapon for preventing HAIs" and "11 pointers for college success from a professor (and dad)."


2. Six things to do before writing your manuscript

Angel Borja, PhDBy Angel Borja, PhD | Posted on 12 May 2014

In this popular series, a seasoned editor gives advice on how to get your work published in an international journal. Dr. Angel Borja draws on his extensive background as an author, reviewer and editor to give advice on preparing a manuscript (author's view), the evaluation process (reviewer's view) and what there is to hate or love in a paper (editor's view). This story alone had 516 shares on LinkedIn.

His second article is "11 steps to structuring a science paper editors will take seriously," and his third will be published later this month.


3. How I published in a scientific journal at age 12 

By Suganth Kannan | Posted on 27 March 2014

Suganth KannanSuganth Kannan was discovered two years ago when he presented his mathematical model for earthquake prediction at an Elsevier conference in The Hague. Those who invited him had not realized he was just 12 years old. After successfully submitting a paper on his research to Elsevier's Journal of Engineering Failure Analysis, he wrote this essay on the experience for Elsevier Connect, conveying his excitement of the experience along with "4 tips to getting your science noticed."  

Shortly afterwards, he presented his mathematical model at another science conference, predicting an imminent earthquake in San Francisco 50 miles from the actual site. We covered his earthquake prediction in Elsevier Connect, and it was subsequently written up in Germany's SPIEGEL Online.

His stories have drawn hundreds of comments on social media, including accolades from the Science Chief of the European Commission. [divider] 

4. Postdoc Free Access program is back

Postdoc Free Access ProgramBy Gaelle Hull | Posted on 13 March 2014

In an uncertain job market, this program aims to help researchers stay competitive between positions. For the past three years, Elsevier has run the Postdoc Free Access Program to support young scholars in between jobs or looking for their first postdoctoral position. Applicants who qualified were granted up to six months free access to all our journals and books on ScienceDirect and were able to use this access to work on grant applications and research projects. News of this program was once again shared broadly on social media, with 714 shares on Facebook.

While the deadline for this program has passed, Elsevier Connect frequently features stories about free programs, tutorials and webinars for early career researchers as well as granting free access to most of the research featured here.


5. Confessions of a managing editor (or 6 reasons I'm returning your manuscript)

By Angelica Kerr | Posted on 23 July 2014

Angelica KerrAs Managing Editor of four Elsevier health science journals, Angelica Kerr shares her personal view of how not to (innocently) annoy the first editor who reviews your manuscript. It's one editor's view, conveyed with humor and, yes, attitude — all with the aim of helping authors put their best work forward. 

Before the journal editor has seen it, before the reviewer has evaluated it — and way before the first decision to accept or reject is made — I've read, corrected and sent back your manuscript. And, yes, you have to make this "laundry list" of editorial changes. From the "thank you notes" in my inbox, I suspect many of you are not thrilled to receive my constructive criticism. ...

Many people wrote comments here and on social media, including editors offering tips of their own.


6. Free access to ScienceDirect for journalists

By Ellen van Gijlswijk and Sacha Boucherie | Posted on 10 January 2014

Free access to ScienceDirect for science journalistsScience and health journalists face the critical challenge of presenting science in a way that is easily understandable as well as accurate. These journalists cannot limit themselves to simply rewriting a press release or rewriting the conclusions of the study; they must examine the facts, data and findings first-hand to write an objective report that puts in the finding in context, while telling the story in a way that speaks to a broad, lay audience. Access to the published research is therefore critical to their work.

To help them, Elsevier offers credentialed science journalists free access to all Elsevier content published online on ScienceDirect, Elsevier's full-text database of journals and books.


7. Co-authors gone bad – how to avoid publishing conflicts 

By Richard B. Primack, PhD, John A. Cigliano, PhD, and Chris Parsons, PhD | Posted on 9 July 2014

Co-authors gone badCo-authors always start out with good intentions, and they may be the best of friends and colleagues — but that's all the more reason to have a co-author agreement, according to three seasoned scientific authors:

Although working with co-authors is usually rewarding, it can also lead to difficulties. Co-authors may not contribute as much as they promised, or in particularly problematic cases, they may deliberately obstruct the research or publication process.

Here they share their own experiences — including "5 examples of conflicts among co-authors" — and present a sample agreement for co-authors. They also invite you to "share your own coauthor calamities (and solutions)" — which many of you have done in the comments.


8. Shattering the myth: Raising kids is a stumbling block to pursuing a PhD

Bushra JamilBy Bushra Jamil | Posted on 17 September 2014

"The decision to pursue a PhD in science with three little kids was of course a difficult one," writes Bushra Jamil, who is working on her PhD in Nanobiotechnology and Microbiology at Comsats Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) in Islamabad, Pakistan. "Nonetheless, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise."

She goes on to share the lessons she has learned in this journey. People around the world have related to her candor and determination, writing comments of encouragement and sharing their own challenges. (She has responded personally to the comments on Elsevier Connect.) 

I became acquainted with Bushra through her comments on the Elsevier Connect Facebook page. I was taken by her passion for science and her unique and expressive writing style. She told me it was her first foray into feature writing, and she plans to do more.


9. Ebola Information Center 

Elsevier's Ebola Information CenterBy the Elsevier Community | Posted on 31 October 2014

When the Ebola virus began to spread, members of the Elsevier community starting making related content and resources freely available to medical professionals, health researchers, and members of the public interested in Ebola. We created the Ebola Information Center as a single destination for continually updated resources from Elsevier's content and experts. It includes free access to articles in medical journals and textbooks, educational products, and other tools and resources. We also feature commentary from our clinicians and other experts.


10. Honoring the 2014 Nobel laureates with free access to selections of their research

By Sacha Boucherie | Posted on 15 October 2014

Honoring the 2014 Nobel LaureatesElsevier Press Officer Sacha Boucherie worked with colleagues around the world to prepare this tribute to the Nobel laureates. She writes:

The winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Economics have made pioneering contributions to science and medicine that have impacted our world and laid the groundwork for advancement in generations to come. We are honored to work with these extraordinary scientists, who have published their research in our journals and books or served as editors, editorial board members or reviewers. 

To further illuminate their discoveries, we have made a collection of their work published with Elsevier freely available.

Writing for Elsevier Connect

If you are interested in writing for Elsevier Connect or have an idea for a story, please contact me at

Dr. Alison Bert, DMAAlison Bert (@AlisonBert) joined Elsevier in 2007 from the world of journalism, where she was a business reporter and blogger for The Journal News, a Gannett daily newspaper in New York. As Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier Connect, she works with people around the world to publish daily stories for the global science and health communities,

In the previous century, Alison was a classical guitarist on the music faculty of Syracuse University. She received a doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, was Fulbright scholar in Spain, and studied in a master class with Andrés Segovia.

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