Press Releases in Science: Beware of the Sexy Title

Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen

Some of the most glamorous, popular claims in the field are nothing but tabloid fodder. The weakest work with the boldest claims often attracts the most publicity, helped by promotion from newspapers, television, websites, and best-selling books. And members of the educated public typically only get one side of the story. (Andrew Gelman & Kaiser Fung writing about The Power of the “Power Pose”).

Of course, if you’ve studied something as a scientist/researcher, you want others to know about your work and your results. A press release is often the way to do this. Sometimes the press release is written by you and sometimes by your university or funding agency. No matter who creates the release, it goes without saying that its goal is to catch the reader’s attention and one way to do that is to give it a sexy title. Nothing…

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