If you provide a title that isn’t very specific, your reader won’t know if your article provides what they are looking for.Here, it counts to maintain a balance between being general enough for your target audience (see mistake 9) and specific enough to convey your key result (see mistake 1).Being specific in your title is also important for indexing purposes.
Chances are your reader will just give up without even considering opening your paper.
However, not all journals permit using active verbs (“Eating spinach the teeth” – I made this up).
For this, it is important to know your main message.
In fact, this is crucial for the whole paper writing process.
This happens either when people want to cram in too much information, or when they are unclear about their main message.
Sometimes authors also try to convey several key messages instead of focusing on the main one. A study found that papers get more views and citations if the title contains fewer than 95 characters.
If it is read by biologists, geologists, chemists and physicists all the same, you need to make sure they can all understand your title.
Just be careful to not make your title too general, it should still reflect your specific result (see mistake 2).
For example, doesn’t permit any acronyms, punctuation, technical terms or active verbs. If you want me to walk you through how to choose the perfect title for your paper step by step, and are curious about learning from real examples, download the free guide: I’m Dr Anna Clemens, a scientific editor and writing coach for scientists.
I give workshops about scientific writing, offer strategy calls and edit papers and proposals.