In scientific texts others’ research results are cited for many reasons and most often they have an important purpose but sometimes citations are there to show researchers are people with humor, they just want to make you laugh while engaging you in their research.
During the past weekend I read an article in KI-Bladet (in Swedish, staff magazine for Karolinska Institute) about a group of researchers who are sneaking in Bob Dylan lyrics in their publications. This type of surprises are called easter eggs. They are usually hidden surprises in a computer program or computer game and can be seen only with a special commando.
Researchers at KI started with Dylan lyrics 17 years ago with an article titled Nitric oxide and inflammation: the answer is blowing in the wind and they have continued since. The researchers say that it is in the lighter publications where these easter eggs are present. The purpose is that the lyrics are connected with the scientific contents of the publication, strengthen the message and improves the quality. Now the group of five researcher have an ongoing bet on who gets the most Dylan lyrics in their publication before retirement, The winner will be treated to a lunch.
Read about other easter eggs in research.