More often than not, today’s academic writing is full of dry and serious jargon-heavy language. So when you find a paper that breaks all the rules and makes you laugh, you’ll want to shout it from the top of a mountain.
That’s essentially what University of Western Australia obstetrics and microbiology researcher Lisa Stinson did when she stumbled across a rare title related to her field of study.
“STOP THE INTERNET!” she tweeted. “I just found the world’s best paper title.”
Below, was a pdf attachment that read: “Fantastic yeasts and where to find them: the hidden diversity of dimorphic fungal pathogens.”
STOP THE INTERNET! I just found the world’s best paper title. pic.twitter.com/MZVPurtwAb
— Lisa Stinson (@lisafstinson) July 9, 2019
Science Twitter, of course, was quick to respond.
As the tweet went viral, researchers and academics began adding their own favourite pun-filled papers, and the result is a long list of humorous and at times hilarious titles that got through the strenuous process of academic publishing and ended up in serious journals.
— Kim Madden (@KimMaddenPhD) July 9, 2019
— Rüdiger Groß (@r_gross_) July 9, 2019
— Andreas Hejnol (@Hejnol_Lab) July 10, 2019
this one is quite good too pic.twitter.com/8loe1yDKlv
— Leonardo Carella (@leonardocarella) July 9, 2019
The references to popular culture were out of control, with many of the titles including clever twists on movies, music and books.
— abi walker (@abiwalker24) July 10, 2019
— labShenanigans (@LabShenanigans) July 10, 2019
I just had to contribute pic.twitter.com/Sqv9rBaC18
— Tom (@ThomasCDix) July 10, 2019
My supervisor’s contribution pic.twitter.com/FHgeyoIiet
— Israel Rebolledo (@isra_rebolledo) July 10, 2019
This is a good thread pic.twitter.com/TH1hHWZB2B
— grease nut, shitwood (@no_better_cause) July 10, 2019
Other papers relied on nothing more than clever wordplay.
— Shadow Trick (@Just_Eleanora) July 9, 2019
And this gem! pic.twitter.com/m7DchPWOHB
— Rebecca Foushee, PhD (@earthb1) July 9, 2019
— Stephen Davey (@stephengdavey) July 9, 2019
While some of the titles were chuckle-worthy simply because of their absurd topics.
My contribution pic.twitter.com/15UrDXAl6l
— Jeffrey Kim (@el_jheffe) July 10, 2019
— Remember Network (@RememberNetwork) July 9, 2019
I still marvel that this sort of title gets past editors, but I’m glad it does. One I had the pleasure of contributing to: Snakes on a spaceship pic.twitter.com/nMEZ5NBAer
— 0.0001% acrylic (@drSteve1663) July 9, 2019
My contribution: pic.twitter.com/k3jwxIsCMm
— Eduardo Sato ❁ (@ea_sato) July 9, 2019
The thread just goes to prove that you don’t need to add “Harry Potter and” to the beginning of every academic title to make it a little more engaging.
Use your imagination, and cross your fingers your reviewer has a sense of humour, too.