Consider for a moment the rate of advancement in the scientific understanding of DNA. It is formidable; from Fredrich Miescher’s nuclein extraction in the 1860s to Rosalind Franklin’s double helix X-ray in the 1950s to revolutionary next-generation sequencing in the late 2000s. Now consider the scientific paper, the medium used to describe and publish these advances. How is the scientific paper advancing to meet the needs of those who generate and use scientific information? We review four essential qualities for the scientific paper of the future: (i) a robust source of trustworthy information that remains peer reviewed and is (ii) communicated to diverse users in diverse ways, (iii) open access, and (iv) has a measurable impact beyond Impact Factor. Since its inception, scientific literature has proliferated. We discuss the continuation and expansion of practices already in place including: freely accessible data and analytical code, living research and reviews, changes to peer review to improve representation of under-represented groups, plain language summaries, preprint servers, evidence-informed decision-making, and altmetrics.

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Keywords Open science, Peer review, Scholarly publishing, Science communication, Science literacy, Science writing
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Journal Facets
Sopinka, N.M. (Natalie M.), Coristine, L.E. (Laura E.), DeRosa, M.C, Rochman, C.M. (Chelsea M.), Owens, B.L. (Brian L.), & Cooke, S.J. (2020). Envisioning the scientific paper of the future. Facets, 5(1). doi:10.1139/facets-2019-0012