Researchers September 15, 2020
Devising the Perfect Title for Your Academic Article

The entire world has changed because of the rise of the Digital Era, including the field of academics and research publishing. Innovations in technology over the past decade alone have evolved the scholarly landscape to something almost unrecognizable from its traditional history, but still just as important. Now, researchers can have their work published more easily, but the information won’t make it to masses of readers unless it’s optimized clearly.

As much as scholars should be recognized for the quality of their work rather than a scientific algorithm based on quantitative measures determined by artificial intelligence data collection systems, the fact is that when a user is searching for a topic, the researcher must demonstrate their authority in the subject by showcasing specific features to the AI system. One way to do this is to create the perfect title: making sure it is not only eye-catching and explains the paper’s topic, but it also has keywords that show up on those search engine hauls.

Challenges of Moving From Print Research to Electronic Publications

Traditionally, researchers were able to focus on their work in a specific process of devising an experiment, setting up the steps, and then composing the necessary aspects of it until they found an outcome. Once they were ready, they then compiled their research into an article and sent it to a journal or magazine for potential publication, without concern of optimizing anything more than their Methods, Results, and Discussions sections.

With the switch to electronic publication, though, the little areas that were always ignored or overlooked are the ones that count. Now, the title and abstract are almost integral to catching a reader’s attention in a search for the best article to reference, keywords are crucial to having one’s work “caught” by a web crawler, and the research itself is secondary to the chain of attention.

The Importance of Search Engine Optimization

Although it may be disagreed with and contested, researchers are accepting the fact that tools like Google Analytics are the way of the present and the future, and if a scholar wants their work to make an impact, they have to join the collective societal expectations. Google’s web crawling algorithms and those of other search engines determine who demonstrates authority on a subject, and the rules of this formula must be followed.

When a user is looking for an expert on a subject, information to answer their question, or a product to fill their needs, they use a search engine query. The results of these queries must satisfy the user well enough for them to trust in the formulaic decisions of an artificial intelligence design, so the main search engines have developed systems to ensure that relationship is built through their optimized and always evolving algorithms.

These mathematical formulas combine quantitative and qualitative factors that showcase the website’s authority in a domain, including factors like the title, abstract, and keywords of the paper.

Using These Practices to Devise the Perfect Title for Your Paper

The three most important parts of your paper in terms of getting it out to an electronic search to a wide audience are the title, the abstract, and the keywords. Databases, journal websites, and search engines focus primarily on the title and abstract, as well as the list of keywords you provide, to decide whether your work fits the user’s search. If you haven’t optimized these, even if your paper is exactly what they’re looking for, they won’t see it. If they don’t see it, they can’t cite it, and if they don’t cite it, you haven’t officially “made an impact.”

This is especially important if your paper is offered through a subscription service. For many research articles, the title and the abstract will be all the reader can see. As such, they serve as a “selling point” to entice the reader to purchase the entire article.

The abstract and keywords will depend on your paper, but optimizing the title is consistent regardless of the topic. Use these tips to devise the perfect title for your academic paper:

●      Formatting: The format of your title should consist of a general explanation of your topic, and these are often followed by a subtopic that gives a little more detail.

●      Title Keywords: The information in your title should always be broad enough to encompass a wide scope, if possible. Being too specific with your taxonomy can reduce your readership and turn off journal publications. Unless you’re looking to target a specialized field, try to avoid overly specific titles.

●      Title Length: Yes, there are such things as too long and too short titles. Yours has to be just right to be caught by a web crawler. The average title length for scholarly articles is between 10 - 20 words.

These three key points will lead you to craft a title that engages readers and shows up in search engine results.

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About the author
Jason Collins- Writer
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.
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