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Journal article titles as tools for self-
presentation
Staša Milojević
School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana Univer...
Scientific documents
• Key element in practice of science
(Callon, Courtial, Turner & Banin 1983; Latour & Woolgar 1986)
•...
Language and academic identity
“…we use language as the raw materials for the presentation of ourselves to
the world and t...
Identity as a process
Identity is socially and historically constituted by individuals through their social
relations, and...
Document titles
• Function as “attention triggers” (Bazerman 1985,1989)
• Have undergone a change during the 20th
century,...
Title types
• Declarative titles – state the
main findings or
conclusions
• Descriptive titles – describe
the subject of t...
Characterization of authors
Groups of authors having different:
• Academic age
• Do titles of senior and junior researcher...
Pilot study: core journals in Astronomy
Field Number of
journals
Number of
articles
(1961-2010)
Number of
articles
(2006-2...
11
12
13
14
15
1 10
words
Individual productivity
Title length
11
12
13
14
15
1 10 100
words
Number of collaborators plus ...
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
0 10 20 30 40 50
percentageofpapers
Academic age
Titles containing a subtitle
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
1 10...
0%
1%
2%
3%
4%
5%
6%
7%
0 10 20 30 40 50
percentageofpapers
Academic age
Titles containing a question
0%
1%
2%
3%
4%
5%
6%...
5500
5700
5900
6100
6300
6500
6700
6900
0 10 20 30 40 50
lexicaldiversity-uniquephrases
Academic age
Cognitive extent
5500...
Thank you!
Staša Milojević
School of Informatics and Computing
Indiana University Bloomington
smilojev@indiana.edu
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Journal article titles as tools for self-presentation

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Milojevic, S. (2015). "Journal article titles as tools for self-presentation."
Presentation at #ASIST2015 #SIGMET15 panel "Self-Presentation in Academia Today: From Peer-Reviewed Publications to Social Media"

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Journal article titles as tools for self-presentation

  1. 1. Journal article titles as tools for self- presentation Staša Milojević School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University Bloomington
  2. 2. Scientific documents • Key element in practice of science (Callon, Courtial, Turner & Banin 1983; Latour & Woolgar 1986) • “The central medium for the dissemination and exchange of scientific ideas” (Bowker, 2005, p. 126) • The primary purpose of journal articles is to persuade the intended audience of worth, originality, and cognitive authority • Shared conceptual system of scientific communities expressed through the terminology used in documents. • Disciplines/fields exist through a medium of ordered language.
  3. 3. Language and academic identity “…we use language as the raw materials for the presentation of ourselves to the world and that what we say and write aligns us with or separates us from other people and their positions.” K. Hyland Disciplinary Identities
  4. 4. Identity as a process Identity is socially and historically constituted by individuals through their social relations, and is thus something that does not belong WITHIN an individual, but BETWEEN persons. (Vygotsky, Mind in Society).
  5. 5. Document titles • Function as “attention triggers” (Bazerman 1985,1989) • Have undergone a change during the 20th century, becoming • More informative • More specific • Containing a larger number of words that indicate article content
  6. 6. Title types • Declarative titles – state the main findings or conclusions • Descriptive titles – describe the subject of the article but do not reveal the main conclusions • Interrogative titles – introduce the subject in the form of a question
  7. 7. Characterization of authors Groups of authors having different: • Academic age • Do titles of senior and junior researchers differ? • Productivity level • Do prolific researchers have different titles? • Collaborative activity level • Do researchers who collaborate more have different titles?
  8. 8. Pilot study: core journals in Astronomy Field Number of journals Number of articles (1961-2010) Number of articles (2006-2010) Astronomy 4 156,871 31,470 Retrieved from Web of Science.
  9. 9. 11 12 13 14 15 1 10 words Individual productivity Title length 11 12 13 14 15 1 10 100 words Number of collaborators plus one Title length 11 12 13 14 15 0 10 20 30 40 50 words Academic age Title length Longest titles: assistant professors and members of large teams Pilot study: astronomy
  10. 10. 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 0 10 20 30 40 50 percentageofpapers Academic age Titles containing a subtitle 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 1 10 percentageofpapers Individual productivity Titles containing a subtitle 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 55% 60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 1 10 100 percentageofpapers Number of collaborators plus one Titles containing a subtitle Most frequent use of subtitles: assistant professors, authors with medium productivity and members of large teams Pilot study: astronomy
  11. 11. 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 0 10 20 30 40 50 percentageofpapers Academic age Titles containing a question 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 1 10 percentageofpapers Individual productivity Titles containing a question 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 1 10 100 percentageofpapers Number of collaborators plus one Titles containing a question Most frequent use of interrogative titles : postdocs and senior researchers, very productive authors. Never used by members of very large teams Pilot study: astronomy
  12. 12. 5500 5700 5900 6100 6300 6500 6700 6900 0 10 20 30 40 50 lexicaldiversity-uniquephrases Academic age Cognitive extent 5500 5700 5900 6100 6300 6500 6700 6900 1 10 lexicaldiversity-uniquephrases Individual productivity Cognitive extent 5500 5700 5900 6100 6300 6500 6700 6900 1 10 100 lexicaldiversity-uniquephrases Number of collaborators plus one Cognitive extent Cognitive extent = range of topics: highest at the beginning and the end of career. More productive/collaborative authors as a whole work on only a subset of topics in astronomy Pilot study: astronomy
  13. 13. Thank you! Staša Milojević School of Informatics and Computing Indiana University Bloomington smilojev@indiana.edu

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