Do I still need to write e.g. "willingness to pay (WTP)" when there is already a list of abbreviations containing WTP at the beginning of my paper?

  • 2
    I am not an academic, is it normal to start a paper with a list of abbreviations? Shouldn't that go at the end, e.g. in an appendix?
    – stannius
    Oct 24, 2018 at 16:44
  • 1
    @stannius In some journals it is common, and usually formatted someplace between the abstract and body of the paper. Others may list them at the end; most commonly not at all, though.
    – Bryan Krause
    Oct 24, 2018 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


I would say that it isn't essential, but it might be a service to your readers to do that. They will, then, see the term used in context as well as its abbreviation.

  • Do I have to do this consistently? (e.g. if I have done this for one word, do I have to do this for the other words in the abbreviation list too?)
    – Aqqqq
    Oct 24, 2018 at 12:56
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    @Aqqqq I would say yes, consistency is important. If I've seen one acronym expanded and then not the next one, it looks like the authors have been careless.
    – gerrit
    Oct 24, 2018 at 13:03

I agree with Buffy 100% that it is not strictly necessary. However, the question is raising a red flag for me.

The purpose of academic writing is to communicate ideas as clearly as possible to other human beings. If you include the full words, does it increase the clarity of the sentence? If you're unsure, ask a colleague to read over a bit of the paper. My strong suspicion is that they will prefer to see the word written out the first time, and will want to use the key only secondarily (if they forget an abbreviation.)

Always keep the four C's in mind when you write: Clarity, Clarity, Clarity, and Clarity. All else is just formatting.1

1 - And as De Novo observed, formatting is also clarity. ;)


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