In the main text of scientific papers, one should use and and avoid using &.

I wonder if it still holds true in section titles.


Apple and Pear


Apple & Pear

more appropriate as a title?

  • 3
    Generally speaking, the style guide you're using should specify this. Are you using APA, or Chicago, or AMS, or ...? Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 18:11
  • 2
    I've always seen "and" spelled out. In the absence of specific guidance from your journal, that seems safest. Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 21:55

4 Answers 4


Many journals specifically state what they expect, or often it can be ascertained by looking at their previous issues.


In general, the modern usage of the ampersand ("&") is restricted to collective proper nouns. While it was much more common to see people use the ampersand during the 18th and early 19th centuries, this has fallen out of fashion.

In formal writing, the use of the ampersand has largely disappeared except for collective nouns in a title, and in situations like table and graph legends, where normal rules of written English do not necessarily apply. For instance, "Crate & Barrel" or "McKinsey & Co." In standard running text, you would not use an ampersand in place of a traditional "and": for instance, you would write

Mozart visited Vienna and Prague.


Mozart visited Vienna & Prague.

However, in the legend of a graph, you could write either "(1 M NaCl & 1 M KOH)" or "(1 M NaCl and 1 M KOH)"; in many instances, the former might actually be preferable, because it's more compact.

This is also supported by many writing style manuals. For instance, the only mention the ACS Style Guide makes of ampersands is with respect to web addresses (where one would in any case not replace "&" with "and").


Following on Volodya's answer, you probably don't need to worry about this too much if you're planning to submit to a peer-reviewed journal - they'll just change it to their preference during the proof stage.


In addition to other good points made... On one hand, obviously it doesn't matter toooooo much, being understandable either way. A relatively superficial criterion is some mandatory style, which is presumably dictated externally: just do it. If there were any "real" criterion, it would be about scan-ability: is it more scan-able with Amper's "and", or with "and"? I tend to think that, given that everyone these days has more practice reading "prose" without symbolic abbreviations (somewhat in contrast to earlier times...!?!), a plain text "and" is "easier", if only due to habit "in these times". But/and the latter is what I consider, actually.

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