Does your scientific paper smell?

In computer programming1, code smells are “surface indications that usually correspond to deeper problems in the system”. Duplicated code is one example. Copying a code fragment into many different places is generally considered bad form; Don’t Repeat Yourself is a well known principle of software development. However, duplicating code can be beneficial if, say, it makes the code easier to read and maintain.

Although code smells are undesirable, “they are not technically incorrect and do not prevent the program from functioning.”

By this description, I’d argue that smells also exist in scientific papers. Hence, I’m proposing a few of these easy-to-spot (aka sniffable) features that may point to a deeper underlying issue.

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