Communication

Embrace complexity but not jargon

In advocating that science writers should not shun scientific jargon, Trevor Quirk proposes the wrong means to the right end for improving science communication (Nature 487, 407; 2012).

The science writer's tough task is to help readers to grasp the nuances and complex concepts behind obscure specialist terminology by translating it into simple, accurate language. There is nothing patronizing about this. Esoteric terms can develop in any discipline — even some Olympic sports use mysterious labels such as 'keirin' and 'repechage'. And the general reader should not be expected to decode words used by scientists who have years of training under their belts.

The public benefits from skilful clarification, as do scientists.

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Correspondence to Anita Makri.

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Makri, A. Embrace complexity but not jargon. Nature 488, 591 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/488591e

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