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February 5, 2020 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Researchers tracked 25 positive terms in clinical-research articles published between 2002 and 2017, and input the authors’ names into the Genderize database...positive words in the title or abstract garnered 9% more citations overall, and 13% more citations in high-impact journals. ...the analysis also found that such self-flattering words were 80% more common in 2017 than in 2002. (paper)
posted by sammyo (9 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Seems like titles here are subject to the same temptations and LCD-chasing behaviour as clickbait article titles. Hard to fault them too much, these kind of titles and exist for a reason and these folks have a vested interest in anyone viewing their research.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:56 PM on February 5, 2020

A fantastic fact is that correlation does not equal causality.
posted by amtho at 2:27 PM on February 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's a journal I regularly publish in that actually bans the use of the word "novel" in titles.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:24 PM on February 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

"Novel" should be banned in the peer-reviewed literature, period. Along with similar phrases like "First-of-its-kind", "Innovative", etc. If it's new, say so, then cut into the meat. We want to see how well cooked it is...

Peer-reviewed lit shouldn't consist of advertisement. That's the job of the respective research lab's PR/communications staff. The lit should be a durable piece of foundation upon which future research relies on.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:37 PM on February 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

The first few journal articles I submitted, the referees really went to town criticising any use of this kind of language. Even when I used the word "interestingly," the referee said "this is not interesting". And "novel", "unique", "innovative", etc all got called out too. So I learned to write in a much more measured style. I wonder how the people who are using this kind of language are getting it through peer review?

On the other hand, the minute you write a grant application you have to learn to put all this kind of language back in there. I've just been reading a bunch of grant application drafts for our more junior researchers lately, and it's amazing how almost universally I've had to tell the men to tone down the self-promotion language a little and tell the women to please, please, put some in.
posted by lollusc at 6:20 PM on February 5, 2020 [7 favorites]

This is underutilized concept will be highly relevant to all ensuing employment enhancement opportunities; applicable across a broad spectrum of endeavors.
posted by mightshould at 8:32 PM on February 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

I mean, the last article I published, they wanted me to write promotional tweets for. My specialty's flagship journal is now a weekly set of one page infographics with URLs in the corner directing you to the actual research. There's already a publication bias against negative studies....
posted by basalganglia at 5:27 PM on February 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Peer-reviewed lit shouldn't consist of advertisement.

Ironically, isn’t just about every peer-reviewed article technically an advertisement and so we all pay a fee to get papers published?
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:20 PM on February 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

the analysis also found that such self-flattering words were 80% more common in 2017 than in 2002

One thing that's changed for me in the last decade is that I have more of a voice and more confidence than I've had in the past. Culture is changing, devs I work with are younger and younger and they seem to me to be more aware and tolerant of people different from themselves.

Now it's OK for me, a woman, to talk about my accomplishments and be respected for the knowledge I've gained in the 25 years I've been building web sites and apps. The revolutionary part is that cow-orkers are respecting my input at least 25% of the time!

Part of that is that I'm way more likely to include self-flattering words on whatever I do. Putting myself down is right out.
posted by bendy at 10:56 PM on February 6, 2020

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