How to Read a Peer-Review Article in a Scientific Journal

At the Museum of Science and Industry I saw an exhibit that was dedicated to educating the public on how the scientific process works. One part of that process is publishing findings in a peer-review journal. Part of the exhibit helps the public decipher what is really being said in those normally boring pieces of literature:

When Scientists Write They Really Mean
It has long been known that… I haven’t bothered to look up the original reference
While it has not been possible to provide definitive answers to these questions… The experiments didn’t work out, but I figured I could at least get a publication out of it.
High purity…
Very high purity…
Extremely high purity…
Composition unknown except for the exaggerated claims of the supplier.
Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study… The results on the others didn’t make sense and were ignored.
…accidentally strained during mounting. …dropped on the floor.
…handled with extreme care throughout the experiments …not dropped on the floor.
Typical results are shown… The best results are shown.
Although some detail has been lost in reproduction, it is clear from the original micrograph that… It is impossible to tell from the micrograph.
Presumably at longer times… I didn’t take the time to find out.
It is suggested that…
It is believed that…
It may be that…
I think
It is generally believed that… A couple of other guys thinks so too.
It may be argued that… I have such a good answer to this objection that I shall now raise it.
It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding… I don’t understand it.
Unfortunately, a quantitative theory to account for these effects has not been formulated… Neither does anybody else.
Correct within an order of magnitude… Wrong.
It is hoped that this work will stimulate further work in the field… This paper isn’t very good, but neither are any of the others in this miserable subject.

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