Optical biosensor technology continues to be the method of choice for label-free, real-time interaction analysis. But when it comes to improving the quality of the biosensor literature, education should be fundamental. Of the 1413 articles published in 2008, less than 30% would pass the requirements for high-school chemistry. To teach by example, we spotlight 10 papers that illustrate how to implement the technology properly. Then we grade every paper published in 2008 on a scale from A to F and outline what features make a biosensor article fabulous, middling or abysmal. To help improve the quality of published data, we focus on a few experimental, analysis and presentation mistakes that are alarmingly common. With the literature as a guide, we want to ensure that no user is left behind. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.