Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Random thought while working on a deadline...

In the suited-and-booted corporate world, dress codes are quite strict. The only place you get to show your "flair" is in your tie.

The title of a submission is our "tie".

Case in point: Knuth's "Toilet Paper Problem".

Update: Of course I forgot to mention the classic example of 'mandated flair'.


  1. The link requires a password to use the UPenn library proxy server.

  2. fixed. sorry. you'll still need JSTOR access, but at least this gives the reference. 

    Posted by Suresh

  3. I saw a list of interesting paper titles at some point. Can't seem to find it now. Anyone has a nice compilation? 

    Posted by kunal

  4. This is the cute title collection to which I refer:


    So are we going to see research managers coming down on us because our titles don't have sufficient "flair"?
    Forget impact factor, the make-or-break is whether your title has enough flair to make the list... 

    Posted by David Molnar

  5. Maybe not with research managers, but this has almost already happened with PCs. eye-catching titles are the norm at many venues. To be honest, I couldn't be certain how much influence the catchy titles have, but they certainly don't hurt.

    Moreover, if you want your work to be cited, an acronym is a graet boon: much easier to cite "DUMBASS [9]", then "Venkatasubramanian et al [9]" :) 

    Posted by Suresh

  6. Come on... if you're doing academic research, and the best way to express yourself creatively is through the title of your paper, then something is wrong. We are exactly the opposite of corporate suits: Our business is being creative! Your flair is related through your arguments, proofs, techniques, choice of problems--not the title of your "exhibition." 

    Posted by Anonymous

  7. Well yes, but not in the presentation of research. When's the last time you saw creativity in the presentation of a work or the writing of a paper. all the creativity is in the content.

    I was talking about the avenues for expression in writing a paper, not doing research.  

    Posted by suresh

  8. qeJeff,

    I thought I was the only person that caught that footnote. I showed it to all of my friends, they did not find it as funny as I did.

    Thanks for reminding me about that!

    Posted by marc

  9. In a paper of Bogdanov and Trevisan on property testing, they have the line "For two-sided testers, however, absence of evidence is not evidence absence" with a footnote citing "Secretary of Defense D. Rumsfeld, on possible links between Al Qaeda and Iraq." 

    Posted by james


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