There is a breed of scientist who believes in the power of eloquence and clarity in communication. The writing is straightforward but tells a story. The figures are well-wrought murals that bring it all together. They make technical writing an art.
There is another pedigree that simply beats you with the data – repeatedly – until you submit to their authority. Or until you grow tired of it and run away, tossing the paper in the ‘I’ll read it later pile’ (which often ends up in File 13). They turn the manuscript, perhaps unintentionally, into a club.
Most of us probably reside on the spectrum between. But I know which one I’d rather be… and read.
Another good post. I was actually discussing a related science communication spectrum last week in a guest blog at ShareSci. I go a bit further and outline a procedure for finding the most effective balance. You and your readers might be interested in my take on this: http://sharesci.net/guestwp/?p=15
Good post and very upfront. The same polarization exists in the humanities and social sciences between those who are clear and those who are obtuse and appear to delight in using so much vocabulary that it makes your brain hurt just to read the text.
I much prefer a well crafted paper that teases me leaving me wanting more data than drinking from a fire hydrant of incoherent figures.