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Fellow-Klasse 2019-2020Prof. Dr. Frauke Gräter

Arbeitsvorhaben am Marsilius-Kolleg

Does the quality of writing influence scientific impact?

The importance and quality of a new discovery presented in a scientific article is often evaluated by the number of its citations. It is unclear, however, in how far the quality of the writing influences the impact of scientific articles. Since the impact factor is of vital importance not only for the advance of science, but also for the career of scientists, we want to explore whether a non-scientific factor – the quality of the writing – influences the reach and popularity of scientific articles.

Our hypothesis is that an article that is easy and enjoyable to read and that contains stylistic features that attract readers’ attention is read and cited more often than an article hard to follow and written in a less attractive style, even if the scientific results are of comparable quality and importance. On the basis of a comprehensive set of articles published in a variety of scientific journals (chosen and analysed by Frauke Gräter), we want to explore whether the quality of the writing correlates with the number of citations or other metrics of impact. We will follow two lines of research: a high-throughput machine learning approach to explore the degree of readability and coherence of the text (Michael Strube), and a detailed analysis of the stylistic features of exemplary articles (Vera Nünning).

Our project aims to stimulate an informed discussion about the significance of the quality of writing for the creation of successful scientific texts.

Porträt Frauke Gräter Fellow 2019/20 Hochkant


  • Computational molecular biophysics and biochemistry
  • Computational materials science
  • Molecular Dynamics and multi-scale simulations
  • Mechanobiology


  • since 07/2014 W3 professor at Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR), Heidelberg University and Faculty of Biosciences
  • since 07/2009 Group leader “Molecular Biomechanics” at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies
  • 07/2007 – 07/2009 Max Planck Independent junior group leader at the MPG-CAS Partner Institute for Computational Biology (PICB), Shanghai
  • 08/2006 – 06/2007 Columbia University, Department of Biology/Chemistry (Julio Fernandez, Bruce J. Berne) Postdoc
  • 12/2005 – 07/2006 Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysical Chemistry Göttingen (Helmut Grubmüller) Postdoc
  • 09/2002 – 11/2005 Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, China, and Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysical Chemistry Göttingen, Germany: PhD studies, Prof. H. Grubmüller
  • 1998 – 2002 University of Heidelberg: Diploma studies of chemistry
  • 1999 – 2000 University of Kyoto, Japan: Participation in KUINEP, an interdisciplinary exchange program
  • 1996 – 1998 University of Tübingen: Studies of chemistry (mid-term diploma)

Other professional activities:

  • since 2017 Member of the Scientific Steering Committee, PRACE
  • since 2017 Member of the Board of Directors, Interdisciplinary Center of Scientific Computing, Heidelberg University
  • 2015-2017 Advisory Board Graduate School “NanoCell”, Linz
  • since 2011 Member of the Executive Board, Center for Modelling and Simulation in the Biosciences, Heidelberg
  • 2012-2017 Member of “Cellnetworks” Cluster of Excellence, Heidelberg University
  • 2011-2017 Co-Speaker of DFG research group “Shenc”

Ausgewählte Publikationen


F. Passam, J. Chiu, L. Ju, A. Pijning, Z. Jahan, R. Mor-Cohen, A. Yeheskel, K. Kolšek, L. Thaerichen, C. Aponte-Santamaría, F. Gräter, and P. Hogg. Mechano-redox control of integrin de-adhesion, eLife. 7:e34843 (2018).
C. Aponte-Santamarı́a, J. Brunken, and F. Gräter (2017). Stress Propagation through Biological Lipid Bilayers in Silico. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139:13588–13591.
D. Peralta, A. K. Bronowska. B. Morgan, Dóka É, K. Van Laer, P. Nagy, F. Gräter, T. P. Dick (2015). A proton relay enhances H₂O₂ sensitivity of GADPH to facilitate metabolic adaptation. Nat. Chem. Biol. 11(2):156-63
S. Milles, D. Mercadante, V. I. Aramburu, M. R. Jensen, N. Banterle, C. Koehler, S. Tyagi, J. Clarke, S. L. Shammas, M., Blackledge, F. Gräter, E. A. Lemke (2015). Plasticity of an Ultrafast Interaction between Nucleoporins and Nuclear Transport Receptors. Cell. 163(3):734-45.
C. Aponte-Santamarı́a, V. Huck, S. Posch, A.K. Bronowska, S. Grässle, M.A. Brehm, T. Obser, R. Schneppenheim, P. Hinterdorfer, S.W. Schneider, C. Baldauf, and F. Gräter (2015). Force-sensitive autoinhibition of the von Willebrand factor is mediated by interdomain interactions. Biophys. J. 108:2312–2321.
J. Zhou, C. Aponte-Santamaría, S. Sturm, J. T. Bullerjahn, A. Bronowska, and F. Gräter (2015). Mechanism of focal adhesion mechanosensing. PLoS Comput. Biol. 11(11):e1004593
F. Xia, D. Thirumalai, F. Gräter. Minimum energy compact structures in force-quench Polyubiquitin folding are domain swapped. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (2011). 108(17):6963-8 (2011).
W. Li, F. Gräter. Atomistic Evidence of How Force Dynamically Regulates Thiol/Disulfide Exchange. J. Amer. Chem. Soc, 132(47):16790-5. (2010).
W. Stacklies, C. Vega, M. Wilmanns, F. Gräter Evolutionary and mechanical networks overlap in immunoglobulin domains, PLoS Comp. Biol. 5(3): e1000306 (2009)
C. Baldauf, R. Schneppenheim, W. Stacklies, T. Obser, A. Pieconka, S. Schneppenheim, U. Budde, J. Zhou, and F. Gräter (2009). Shear-induced unfolding activates von Willebrand factor A2 domain for proteolysis. J. Thromb. Haemost. 7:2096–2105.


Prof. Dr. frauke gräter

Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Wissenschaftliches Rechnen, Universität Heidelberg, und Heidelberger Institut für Theoretische Studien (HITS)
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
E-Mail: frauke.graeter@h-its.org