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.

Like Comment

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 work clearly lends itself to images, but they could also be of the experiments or the experimenters. We can also host animations, video abstracts or other related content 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 article, a conference you have attended, other published research, a personal anecdote about peer review, your grad studies or your experiences as a professor - or some poetry.

I’m always available to answer any questions you have about the community. 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.


Go to the profile of Ry Young
about 1 year ago

Do we title the post "Behind the paper" and then give the title of the paper?

Go to the profile of Emma Thompson
about 1 year ago

'Behind the Paper' is a channel in the Community; you should select 'Behind the Paper' from the list of Channels when drafting your post. The title of your post can be something catchy, a question, a fact or something that draws attention.  It doesn't need to be the same as the title of your manuscript.

Go to the profile of Hundeep Kaur
8 months ago

Can one use a combination of same images/figures used in the original paper to be published?

Go to the profile of Evelina Satkevic
8 months ago

Hi Hundeep,

You can use images from the original paper as long as they are correctly cited.

Best wishes,