Most scientists are writers. Notwithstanding the distortions induced by the ‘publish or perish’ imperative of funding agencies and academic appointment committees, the publication of original research is fundamental to the scientific process. Depending on the field, a successful scientist may write a hundred or more publications over his or her career. In terms of sheer numbers of words, this is equivalent to two or three full-length novels.
The best Australian science is published in a daunting array of international journals, mostly discipline-specific, but some, such as Nature and Science, cover the whole scientific enterprise. So far in 2016, more than 100 articles with Australian co-authors have appeared in Nature, and around sixty in Science. Modern science is highly collaborative, and not all co-authors necessarily end up with text in the final articles. Nevertheless, this output represents a significant contribution to the leading edge of scientific literature.