KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Jargon and Plain Language in Science Writing

My authors who write reports on their research for publication in medical journals tend to use a lot of jargon. I try to help them make their writing easier to understand for the very reason discussed in this New York Times article:

"[A] team of researchers has analyzed jargon in a set of over 21,000 scientific manuscripts. They found that papers containing higher proportions of jargon in their titles and abstracts were cited less frequently by other researchers. Science communication—with the public but also among scientists—suffers when a research paper is packed with too much specialized terminology, the team concluded."

I'm not at all suggesting that my authors completely eliminate jargon in such reports. But I ask them to use plainer language wherever possible, and even to define some of the terms, because people other than their departmental supervisor, who insisted that true professionals write impenetrable prose, are going to read their articles. And those people need to be able to understand the articles so that nonscientists in government and in the general public don't make unscientific decisions concerning public health and the environment.

Take a look at this blog post by my colleague Mike Pope on "good" and "bad" jargon.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

JAMA Deputy Editor Is Fired After Denying the Existence of Structural Racism

Edward H. Livingston, MD, a white man and the deputy editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, hosted a podcast in which he questioned the existence of structural racism: "Structural racism is an unfortunate term. Personally, I think taking racism out of the conversation will help. Many of us are offended by the concept that we are racist."

And such behavior is exactly how structural racism is perpetuated.

Thank goodness that after public outcry, JAMA's editor-in-chief asked for and accepted Livingston's resignation.

And the American Medical Association itself issued a statement:

"To be clear, structural racism exists in the U.S. and in medicine, genuinely affecting the health of all people, especially people of color and others historically marginalized in society. This is not opinion or conjecture, it is proven in numerous studies, through the science and in the evidence. As physicians, and as leaders in medicine, we have a responsibility to not only acknowledge and understand the impact of structural racism on the lives of our patients, but to speak out against racial injustices wherever they exist in health care and society. ...

"Importantly, the AMA is investigating the circumstances that led up to the podcast and tweet and will make the changes necessary to address them. The AMA and JAMA have taken immediate actions in this past week, and more will follow. ..."



#structural #racism #racist #medicine #editors #editing #JAMA #AMA #EditorMom

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