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Are You Confused by Scientific Jargon? So Are Scientists

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Jargon can be alienating, researchers say.

Credit: Getty Images

Science communication with the public, but also among scientists, suffers when a research paper is packed with too much specialized terminology, according to two researchers who analyzed jargon in a set of over 21,000 scientific manuscripts.

Papers containing higher proportions of jargon in their titles and abstracts were cited less frequently by other researchers, according to Alejandro Martínez and Stefano Mammola from the Water Research Institute at the National Research Council of Italy, authors of "Specialized Terminology Reduces the Number of Citations of Scientific Papers," published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

A computer program to calculate the proportion of jargon words in each examined manuscript's title and abstract. Papers 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 title.

From The New York Times
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