Top 10 uses for old hard copy paper science journals

science journalsSome folks say that paper, hard copy journals are going to become obsolete. But they are still accumulating in science labs, offices, and corridors are a rapid pace.

So what do we do with all of them?

I’m not talking about recycling them, but some other more creative uses such as…

1. Build a maze in your lab to do human behavioral experiments. What should the reward be at the end? Cheesecake?

2. On an open field use them to make a message visible in space from Earth. What should the message say? Go digital?

3. Play a paper version of Jenga with stacked journals in the Dean’s office

4. Burn them in a bonfire to honor the journal gods and hopefully increase your odds of your getting your paper accepted

5. Use them to build a giant cell-shaped pinata filled with treats collected from vendors and then sell turns to hit it to frustrated PIs who recently got “unfair” grant and paper rejections/critiques (i.e. pretty much everyone).

6. Build a couch out of them in the lab

7. Make fashionable lab coats out of them

8. Build a small house out of them on the lawn outside of your research building

9. Use them as the basis for a huge screen for journal-eating bacteria

10. Build extra lab benches for interns

Other ideas?


  1. Sort by color and plaster in lab to make a collage wall. Then provide darts to members for randomizing selection of journals for submission.

    • Love it! Another variant of this idea is that lab members throw darts to take their frustrations out at particular journals.

    • Originally in my draft the lab couch constructed of journals said “for naps”, but for some reason I deleted that. 🙂

  2. Load them up in C-130’s and drop them from the air on third world nations. Way better diplomacy tool than bombs and napalm. Maybe some of the inhabitants will read the journals and conclude that we aren’t such a bad people after all….

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