2 COMMENTS

  1. Our case review of a neonatal surgical patient on extra-corporeal oxygenation with presumed necrotising enterocolitis and subsequently found to have a splenic laceration was published in our internationl journal, The Journal of Paediatric Surgery. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17161174

    It was entitled “The exceptionally rare (sic) Common Scoter”.

    A quote from the abstract “Medical practice contains many useful maxims such as, “What walks like a duck, talks like a duck, is often a duck.” This case demonstrates that not all ducks are the common Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) but occasionally the exceptionally rare (sic) Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra).

    Did it get the article published? I don’t know. It has been cited twice in two important journals. Ultimately, it makes me happy knowing I’ve published in a Paediatric Surgery Journal an article about the rarest duck in Britain.

  2. I’m not a big fan of catchy titles, if only because they often don’t weather the test of time or cross-cultural transmission. Ideally a title should be understandable to most relevant readers immediately, no matter where or when they are reading it (in my field of paleontology, citing a 100 year old work is not unusual – I know this is not always the case in other fields). I recall one “witty” title that required an internet search to discover what the pun exactly meant (both the writer and I are native English speakers, but we’re from different parts of the globe – someone who wasn’t a native speaker definitely would be puzzled!). Yes, I still remember the paper, but mainly because I cite it as an example of a badly titled paper. And as for papers that use pop-cultural references in the title – will a reference from 2011 make any sense in 2243?

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