Use less language; use more figures, tables, color, highlighting, and multimedia

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The primary channel of scientific communication is the research article, whose content is mainly presented in English paragraphs comprised of declarative sentences. Paragraphed, declarative English has two major problems: high resource demands both in creation and consumption (especially for non-native users of English, constituting the majority of researchers); and ambiguity inherent in language creates more uncertainty for consumers. Greater promotion of other communicative tools – e.g. figures, tables, images, bulleted lists, headings, highlighting through color, bold and italics – among a range of stakeholders – e.g. journal gatekeepers, research methods teachers, English language teachers, disciplinary bodies like the APA – would result in scientific communication with improved volume, speed, and clarity. Cognitive science shows that a figure, table, image, sub-heading, or bulleted list is easier to create and to decode than a paragraph, and less ambiguous. Neurath speculated 100 years ago about scientific communication “freed from the slag of historical languages”; multimedia technology makes this increasingly possible.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2021
EventMetascience Conference 2021 - Global
Duration: 23 Sept 202125 Sept 2021


ConferenceMetascience Conference 2021
Internet address


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