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Apparently Humor and Gobbledygook Don't Help

Samuel Arbesman, in reflecting on a 2008 Journal of Information Science paper in which researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology examined "whether the use of humor in scientific article titles is associated with the number of citations an article receives," says that "humor aside, there is the additional problem of whether or not a paper is well-written." While he'd "love to have evidence that well-written papers do better," Arbesman says that so far, "bafflegab" — his word, which is apparently synonymous with gobbledygook, meaning "wordy and generally unintelligible jargon," according to Merriam-Webster — doesn't appear to increase a paper's prestige, according to the University of Pennsylvania's J. Scott Armstrong, who published his survey of bafflegab in the scientific literature in the same journal in 1989.

HT: Bio-Rad's The American Biotechnologist blog

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