The title of the scientific paper is the "face of the paper" (Lebrun, 2007). Titles are the most read part of scientific papers, mainly because they are free for readers to peruse. As such, they must be short as possible but must show the paper's contribution (Blackwell and Martin, 2011). Along with the abstract, titles are used in indexing and keyword searches and "form a small scientific report" (Katz, 2006).
What makes for a good title of a scientific paper? It is one that has "the fewest possible words that adequately describe the contents of the paper" (Day, 1998). Lebrun (2007) lists down several qualities of good titles:
Lebrun (2007) also lists down the purpose of titles for readers:
He also lists down the purpose of titles for writers (Lebrun, 2007):
I culled from several references some tips for my students to help them write titles for their scientific papers:
Listing the author/s and addresses
Writing down the authors is one of the most contentious part of doing the scientific paper. Day (1998) says that, "[unfortunately] there are no agreed-upon rules or generally accepted conventions [in listing authors.... [Though it] is now accepted form to refer to the first author as the 'senior author' and to assume that he or she did most or all of the research." He defines authorship as:
the listing of authors [to] include those, and only those, who actively contribute to the overall design and execution of the [study].... Further, the authors should normally be listed in order of importance [to the research conducted], the first author being acknowledged as the senior author, the second author being the primary associate, the third author possibly being equivalent to the second but more likely having a lesser involvement with the work reported. Colleagues or supervisors should neither ask to have their names on manuscripts nor allow their names to be put on manuscripts reporting research which they themselves have not been intimately involved....An author of a paper [is] defined as one who takes intellectual responsibility for the research results being reported.... ¶ Each listed author should have made an important contribution to the study being reported, "important" referring to those aspects of the study which produced new information, the concept that defines an original scientific paper.
Day (1998) recommends the listing of authors by their first name, middle initial, and last name. He advises writers to follow the journal's convention in listing addresses of authors, though convention usually follows the listing of addresses of multi-authored works in the same order as the authors. ✍
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