英語論文の書き方】第60回 論文の略語について

2018年12月7日 10時00分

第59回では次のテーマを取り上げました。
 共同研究の論文執筆について
生産性が高く効果的なチームプレーをするためには、どのようなことに気をつければよいでしょうか。を取り上げました。
 
第60回(今回)のテーマは論文の略語についてです。
みなさんの専門分野では、どのような略語が使われていますか?今回は、英語論文で略語を使うときのポイントをご紹介します。
 
自分の専門分野の文章を読むとき、または一般向けの新聞や雑誌、本を読むとき、略語自体がわかりにくかったり、略語ばかりで読みづらかったりした経験はありませんか?
略語を使うときは、まず、論文を読む人が理解しやすい形で使うことが大切です。
 
また、自分で作ったオリジナルの略語を使うときのガイドラインもGeoffさんが提示してくださっています。
 
意外に思えるかもしれませんが、英語論文で略語を「使わないほうがよいとき」もあります。具体的な例を読みながら実感してみてください。
 
略語のキーポイントをおさえて、見た目も内容もスッキリとして読みやすい論文を書きましょう。

 

Best practices for abbreviations By Geoff Hart

 Scientists use many multi-word descriptions to represent key concepts in a manuscript. Because these phrases appear frequently in the manuscript, it’s natural to look for shortcuts that reduce the amount of typing and shorten the manuscript. Abbreviation (“making something shorter”) is a common solution. Unfortunately, any field of research develops many abbreviations, and this has two undesirable consequences. First, it encourages authors to create and use unnecessary abbreviations. Second, many of these abbreviations are obscure and difficult to remember. In this article, I’ll describe key characteristics of abbreviations that suggest “best practices” for how to use them.
 The most important thing to remember is that abbreviations impose a significant burden on the reader’s memory and slow reading: each time we encounter an abbreviation, we must pause to remember what it means. The more abbreviations we ask readers to remember, the more difficult reading becomes: if the reader does not already know the meaning without stopping and thinking about it, they must search through your paper to find where you defined it—or worse, consult a dictionary or do an Internet search. This also explains why abbreviations are acceptable for terms such as DNA or ANOVA: the abbreviation is so familiar that every reader knows its meaning, without having to stop reading to find the meaning.
 Note: This is why you should avoid using existing abbreviations such as ANOVA to represent a different concept. Many readers will assume the more common meaning, and will have to re-examine the sentence when they discover that the expected meaning makes no sense.
 Many journals list the standard abbreviations you can use without providing a definition, but it’s still wise to define all abbreviations the first time you use them. This is kind to students, who have not yet learned all of a science field’s terminology, and to readers who are still learning a difficult language such as English. Many journals ask authors to define all abbreviations in a list at the start of the manuscript to ensure that readers can quickly find these definitions. Because this list is so useful, particularly to the journal’s peer reviewers, you should consider providing a list of all abbreviations in your manuscript even if the journal guidelines do not require this. The journal’s copyeditors can always delete the list later if the journal doesn’t use such lists.
 The second most important thing to remember is the primary purpose of an abbreviation: to shorten something long. An abbreviation is useless if it does not save significant amounts of space. One common guideline is to never create an abbreviation for a single word, except when you have insufficient room for the full word. This is why writers often replace average with avg. in tables and figures, even though it only saves three characters. This is also why you will often see advice to use abbreviations only for phrases of three or more words. Three-word phrases are so common in science writing that they have their own abbreviation: TL”, for three-letter abbreviation.
 If you feel tempted to invent an abbreviation for the first time and use it in your manuscript, remember that it may be kinder to readers if you use the full words each time. If you still feel it’s necessary to create an abbreviation, the following guidelines will make it easier to remember:
 • Use only the first letter of each word. Each letter then represents a single word. Example: diameter at breast height = DBH.
 • Don’t include letters to represent minor words (e.g., the “at” in the previous example) unless it makes the abbreviation easier to remember. (See the next point.)
 • Use only the first syllable of each word to provide a stronger clue to each of the words. Example: analysis of variance = ANOVA (with “o” used to replace the minor word “of”).
 Where possible, avoid abbreviations by replacing a long phrase with a simpler synonym. For example, if you write about a “System for Abbreviation Definition and Clarification”, you could define the abbreviation SADC to replace that long phrase. But it is clearer to simply write the system or it. For example:
 We developed a system for abbreviation definition and clarification. This system explains how to create and define effective abbreviations. It offers a consistent approach to defining their name and meaning.
Once readers know what system you mean, it’s only necessary to repeat the full name when you are comparing it with another system and need to distinguish between the two. Even then, phrases such as the old system and the new system are often clearer.
 Define abbreviations both in the Abstract and the first time the abbreviation appears in the main text. Ideally, readers should examine your methods and results and make their own decision about what you discovered before they compare their interpretation with yours. In practice, many only read the Abstract, particularly if they encounter the Abstract separated from the rest of your paper (e.g., in Biological Abstracts); thus, define all abbreviations that appear in the Abstract. If you don’t provide a list of abbreviations at the start of your manuscript, and the manuscript is long (e.g., a literature review or a book), redefining abbreviations at the start of each section or in each chapter is redundant, but helps readers remember or learn the meaning if they don’t start reading at the beginning (e.g., if they only consult one chapter of a book).
 Whether to capitalize an abbreviation varies between journals. Many capitalize each letter that represents a full word (e.g., JSPS = Japan Society for the Promotion of Science). Others may capitalize only the first letter in an abbreviation or none of the letters (e.g., Lidar vs. lidar). The second option is most common for abbreviations that have been used so long (e.g., laser) that they are treated like ordinary words.
 The abbreviations used for variable names require special formatting. For normal variables that take only a single value at any point in time, the name is usually capitalized and italicized. For example, P without italics represents the element phosphorus, whereas P in italics represents the probability of statistical significance. Complications arise if you use an abbreviation both in a general sense and as a variable name. For example, you might use DNA to represent both the phrase deoxyribonucleic acid and the concentration of a given DNA. If you italicize the word only when it represents the variable, the nonitalicized form looks like an error. Conversely, you might italicize both uses of the abbreviation, but then non-italicized abbreviations such as ANOVA look like errors. In such cases, the best solution is to choose a different name for the variable. For example, use C (in italics) to represent all concentration variables, but add a few letters as a subscript (text formatted to appear slightly below the line that holds the C) to clarify which specific concentration you mean: CDNA and CRNA would represent the concentrations of DNA and RNA, respectively.
 Following these guidelines will solve most problems related to abbreviations, while also making your manuscripts clearer and easier to read.
 
 
***
Geoffrey Hart is a Canadian science editor with more than 30 years of experience. His goal in writing these articles is to help you write more efficiently and communicate the importance of your research more successfully. If there’s a topic you want him to cover or a question you want him to answer, please contact World Translation Services to make this request.
 

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第1回 if、in case、when の正しい使い分け:確実性の程度を英語で正しく表現する

第2回 「装置」に対する英語表現

第3回 助動詞のニュアンスを正しく理解する:「~することが出来た」「~することが出来なかった」の表現

第4回 「~を用いて」の表現:by と with の違い

第5回 技術英文で使われる代名詞のitおよび指示代名詞thisとthatの違いとそれらの使用法

第6回 原因・結果を表す動詞の正しい使い方:その1 原因→結果

第7回 原因・結果を表す動詞の使い方:その2 結果→原因

第8回 受動態の多用と誤用に注意

第9回 top-heavyな英文を避ける

第10回 名詞の修飾語を前から修飾する場合の表現法

第11回 受動態による効果的表現

第12回 同格を表す接続詞thatの使い方

第13回 「技術」を表す英語表現

第14回 「特別に」を表す英語表現

第15回 所有を示すアポストロフィー + s ( ’s) の使い方

第16回 「つまり」「言い換えれば」を表す表現

第17回 寸法や重量を表す表現

第18回 前置詞 of の使い方: Part 1

第19回 前置詞 of の使い方: Part 2

第20回 物体や物質を表す英語表現

第21回 句動詞表現より1語動詞での表現へ

第22回 不定詞と動名詞: Part 1

第23回 不定詞と動名詞の使い分け: Part 2

第24回 理由を表す表現

第25回 総称表現 (a, theの使い方を含む)

第26回研究開発」を表す英語表現

第27回 「0~1の数値は単数か複数か?」

第28回 「時制-現在形の動詞の使い方」

第29回  then, however, therefore, for example など接続副詞の使い方​

第30回  まちがえやすいusing, based onの使い方-分詞構文​

第31回  比率や割合の表現(ratio, rate, proportion, percent, percentage)

第32回 英語論文の書き方 総集編

第33回 Quality Review Issue No. 23 report, show の時制について​

第34回 Quality Review Issue No. 24 参考文献で日本語論文をどう記載すべきか​

第35回 Quality Review Issue No. 25 略語を書き出すときによくある間違いとは?​

第36回 Quality Review Issue No. 26 %と℃の前にスペースを入れるかどうか

第37回 Quality Review Issue No. 27 同じ種類の名詞が続くとき冠詞は付けるべき?!​

第38回 Quality Review Issue No. 22  日本人が特に間違えやすい副詞の使い方​

第39回 Quality Review Issue No. 21  previous, preceding, earlierなどの表現のちがい

第40回 Quality Review Issue No. 20 using XX, by XXの表現の違い

第41回 Quality Review Issue No. 19 increase, rise, surgeなど動詞の選び方

第42回 Quality Review Issue No. 18 論文での受動態の使い方​

第43回 Quality Review Issue No. 17  Compared with とCompared toの違いは?​

第44回 Reported about, Approach toの前置詞は必要か?​

第45回 Think, propose, suggest, consider, believeの使い分け​

第46回 Quality Review Issue No. 14  Problematic prepositions scientific writing: by, through, and with -3つの前置詞について​

第47回 Quality Review Issue No. 13 名詞を前から修飾する場合と後ろから修飾する場合​

第48回 Quality Review Issue No. 13 単数用法のThey​

第49回 Quality Review Issue No. 12  study, investigation, research の微妙なニュアンスのちがい

第50回 SinceとBecause 用法に違いはあるのか?

第51回 Figure 1とFig.1の使い分け

第52回 数式を含む場合は現在形か?過去形か?

第53回 Quality Review Issue No. 8  By 2020とup to 2020の違い

第54回 Quality Review Issue No. 7  high-accuracy data? それとも High accurate data? 複合形容詞でのハイフンの使用

第55回 実験計画について

第56回 参考文献について

第57回 データの分析について

第58回 強調表現について

第59回 共同研究の論文執筆について


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