Editors should edit

FORSDYKE at QUCDN.QueensU.CA FORSDYKE at QUCDN.QueensU.CA
Thu Jan 14 10:14:52 EST 1993


Editors should Edit.

                    THE DEGENERATION OF ENGLISH

               "Paradigm"..................."Novel"

  Language has to move on, and few would mourn the passing on of the term
"allelomorph" which characterized the early genetics literature of the
20th century, and its replacement with "allele". However, editors have a
responsibility to check papers for usages which clearly represent a
degeneration of English. I am noting quite often the use of the term
"paradigm", meaning simply "model". As far as I am aware "paradigm" was
introduced by Thomas Kuhn to mean a large conceptual frame-shift. Thus,
Burnet's clonal selection theory presented a new paradigm which revolut-
ionized the way immunologists think about their subject.

   Recently in Nature there was some discussion of the misuse of the term
"novel", not just as an alternate for "new", but meaning especially,
superlatively, new,.....almost in a paradigmatic sense.  I think editors
have a responsibility here to point this out to authors, particularly
those who use "novel" in the title. At the very least, the work should be
unchallengeably novel and imply a quite exhaustive literature search to
check that the finding really is new.

                                    Sincerely, Don Forsdyke



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