The specific terminology is not unique to the Ivory Tower – for example, ask a baker about the torturer. But it is widespread in the academic field, and now a team of researchers has analyzed the jargon in a set of more than 21,000 scientific manuscripts. They found that papers with a high proportion of jargon in their titles and abstracts were cited less frequently by other researchers. Science communication – with the public, but also among scientists – when a research paper is packed with too much specific terminology, the team is eliminated.
These were the results Published on Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Ohio State University communications scientist Hilary Shulman said that Jargon can be a problem, but it is also an objective one. “As our ideas become more sophisticated, it makes sense that our concepts do as well.” He said that this language can be a way of conveying a meaningful, precise meaning within the language. However, it also risks reminding people – even some educated researchers – that they are not “aware”.
“It’s different,” Dr. Shulman said.
Two scientists recently investigated how the use of jargon affects the likelihood of a manuscript being cited in other scientific journal articles. Such citations are an acknowledgment of the importance and relevance of a study, and they are used Estimate a researcher’s productivity.
Alejandro Martinez, an evolutionary biologist, and Stefano Mamola, an ecologist, both began by collecting scientific papers at the National Research Council in Palanza, Italy. Using the science of the web, an online platform that allows subscribers to access databases of scholarly publications, they zeroed in on 21,486 manuscripts focused on cave research.
Cave science is a particularly jargon-heavy field, Drs. Martin said. This is because it attracts a diverse pool of researchers, each of whom bring their own terminology. Anthropologists, geologists, zoologists and ecologists all end up meeting in the caves, he said. “They like rocks or insects or human remains or wall paintings.”
To compile a list of jargon words related to the cave, Drs. Martinez combed the glossary of books and review studies. He settled on about 1,500 words (including the four that appeared at the beginning of this article).
Dr. Mammola then wrote a computer program to calculate the ratio of jargon to the title and abstract of each manuscript. Researchers found that letters with a higher fraction of jargon received fewer citations. And none of the most highly cited papers – with more than 450 citations – used jargon in their titles, while nearly all had abstracts where less than 1 percent of the words were jargon.
As citations are often seen as metrics of academic success, a paper of jargon, Drs. Martinez and Drs. Mamola’s proposal has a negative impact. Fewer citations may mean that a paper is not being read and memorized, which is bad news for science communication overall, the team concluded.
However, other researchers have found that using less-common words – a form of jargon – can be beneficial. David Markowitz, a psychology researcher at the University of Oregon, analyzed the abstract of nearly 20,000 proposals for funding from the National Science Foundation. The result, Published in 2019, Revealed that the abstraction involved less common words that used to raise more grant money. “Jargon doesn’t always associate with negative consequences,” Dr. Markowitz said.
Planet scientist Sabine Stanley of Johns Hopkins University said that clear communication should always be a goal in science. “It is important that I step back and always remind myself as a scientist: How do I describe what I am doing for someone who is not doing it 24/7 like I am? “
Dr. Stanley recently attended Up-goer five challenge At the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Is inspired by an xkcd Comedy Explaining Saturn V Rocket In plain language by Randall Monroe (An occasional Times contributor), The event challenges participants to communicate their science using only the thousand most common words in the English language (A. text editor is available).
“It’s quite challenging,” Dr. Said Stanley, who presented the new results Mars Insight Lander.
The title of his talk? “A space computer that was named in the Red World, which came to the Red World last year and here we have found it far away.”