Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 459-460  

Uneasy is the journey of publication that wears an inappropriate title

Editor, Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, Professor and Head, Department of Periodontics, Dental College, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Lamphelpat, Imphal - 795004, Manipur, India

Date of Web Publication01-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
Ashish Kumar
Editor, Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, Professor and Head, Department of Periodontics, Dental College, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Lamphelpat, Imphal - 795004, Manipur
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jisp.jisp_564_21

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How to cite this article:
Kumar A. Uneasy is the journey of publication that wears an inappropriate title. J Indian Soc Periodontol 2021;25:459-60

How to cite this URL:
Kumar A. Uneasy is the journey of publication that wears an inappropriate title. J Indian Soc Periodontol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 14];25:459-60. Available from:

The title is one of the most significant lines of a published paper.[1] It is generally one sentence and often not even complete. The title makes a instant connect between the writer and readers. It is the title of a paper that decides whether the paper is read or not.[2] For majority of the papers, title is the only aspect which is read. A good title helps the readers to search a paper easily[3] but also propels them to read the complete paper but the opposite is true for not so good titles.[4]

It is crucial to know the intricacies of drafting a title. Drafting of the title is done after completion of the manuscript.[5],[6] The title should be written prudently and should have right balance between being informative and appealing.[7] So, the title construction requires the authors to be very meticulous in this aspect.[5],[6] Another important aspect while drafting a title is, to adhere to the journal guidelines.

The properties of good titles are: brief, accurate, simple, specific, informative and appealing and not misleading.[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] The title should able to prompt readers to go through complete text.[2],[5],[6] The use of key words in suitable order (depending upon the content and context of paper) in drafting title is important. Use of these key words in title and that too in suitable order will help the readers find the article easily in search engines. As we all know, that, the key words are not only required by search engines to retrieve the papers but keys words are used by abstracting and indexing agencies to tag, categorize and save the papers in appropriate groups.[6],[8],[10]

The titles can be classified as descriptive, declarative, or interrogative.[5],[11],[12]

   Descriptive or Neutral Titles Top

These type of titles do not reveal results of the study despite having the details of research in terms of design, subjects, interventions and, comparisons.[5],[10],[12] Being neutral in nature, the readers tend to read the paper with a unbiassed approach.[5],[12]

   Declarative Titles Top

As the name suggests, the main findings of the study are clearly mentioned in the title itself. It has its pros and cons. The title is more informative but still as the title is not neutral, the readers will have an inclination towards one side of research while reading it as they know the results.[5],[10],[12] It reduces the inquisitiveness of the reader.

Although, declarative titles have been reported to be downloaded and cited less than descriptive titles, but the difference is not significant.[11]

   Interrogative Titles Top

These titles have a question or a query inbuilt in the title.[5],[11],[12] These type of titles create more visibility for the publication by dramatizing the topic but can be misleading and confusing.[5],[11],[12] Such titles have been seen to have more downloads but are cited less.[11] This in turn means that, impact of publications with interrogative titles may be less.

Publications with humorous titles, though primarily engaging and may be read more with the intention of having fun while reading and do not anticipate some valuable information always.

These kind of titles may be taken less seriously by the readers and may be cited less often.[5],[13]

On the basis of sentence construction, titles can be classified as nominal, compound, or full-sentence titles. Nominal titles give very limited information and full sentence titles will give detailed information whereas compound titles are somewhere in between nominal and full sentence titles.[5]

The length of the title has been shown to be related to number of authors,[14] length of the article[15] and number of citations.[16] Publications with longer titles have been shown to have more authors[14] and also longer titles with more keywords are associated with longer articles.[15] But, very short titles may miss the keywords used by the indexing agencies to catch and categorize the paper and disproportionately lengthy or complex title may put off the readers.[5],[6] Articles with shorter titles are cited more.[16]

Many journals ask the authors to mention “running title”. “Running title” is the smaller version of main title with a limit of 50 characters and can be seen in the header or footer of the published article.

Due diligence is always required whenever a title is awarded or given to anyone or anything. Similar diligence is also required when you draft the title of your research paper as “The title of an article is an initial imprint of a research paper”.

   References Top

Langford CA, Pearce PF. Increasing visibility for your work: The importance of a well-written title. J Am Assoc Nurse Pract 2019;31:217-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Haggan M. Research paper titles in literature, linguistics and science: Dimensions of attraction. J Pragmat 2004;36:293-317.  Back to cited text no. 2
Grant MJ. What makes a good title? Health Info Libr J 2013;30:259-60.  Back to cited text no. 3
Fox CW, Burns CS. The relationship between manuscript title structure and success: Editorial decisions and citation performance for an ecological journal. Ecol Evol 2015;5:1970-80.  Back to cited text no. 4
Tullu MS, Karande S. Writing a model research paper: A roadmap. J Postgrad Med 2017;63:143-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Tullu MS. Writing the title and abstract for a research paper: Being concise, precise, and meticulous is the key. Saudi J Anaesth 2019;13:S12-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
Anstey A. Writing style: What's in a title? Br J Dermatol 2014;170:1003-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
Annesley TM. The title says it all. Clin Chem 2010;56:357-60.  Back to cited text no. 8
Zeiger M. Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2000.  Back to cited text no. 9
Cals JW, Kotz D. Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part II: Title and abstract. J Clin Epidemiol 2013;66:585.  Back to cited text no. 10
Jamali HR, Nikzad M. Article title type and its relation with the number of downloads and citations. Scientometrics 2011;88:653-61.  Back to cited text no. 11
Bahadoran Z, Mirmiran P, Kashfi K, Ghasemi A. The principles of biomedical scientific writing: Title. Int J Endocrinol Metab 2019;17:e98326.  Back to cited text no. 12
Sagi I, Yechiam E. Amusing titles in scientific journals and article citation. J Inform Sci 2008;34:680-7.  Back to cited text no. 13
Yitzhaki M. Relation of title length of journal articles to number of authors. Scientometrics 1991;30:321-32.  Back to cited text no. 14
Yitzhaki M. Relation of the title length of a journal article to the length of the article. Scientometrics 2002;54:435-47.  Back to cited text no. 15
Letchford A, Moat HS, Preis T. The advantage of short paper titles. R Soc Open Sci 2015;2:150266.  Back to cited text no. 16


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