What is the recommended way to ephasize proper nouns and jargon in academic writing?

I usually use italics to emphasize specific proper nouns (e.g., the name of a software: Gitolite). Until now, I did not emphasize technical jargon at all. However, my editor suggested to highlight jargon with double quotes (e.g., "the gauge hierarchy problem" or "spaghetti code").

Is this a good practice? If so, should I use the double quotes only for the first appearence of a jargon term?

  • 1
    Read other papers in your field; do what they do. – Nate Eldredge Feb 2 '14 at 16:29
  • The way you outline seems fair and proper. It would not be wrong to put jargon terms in quotes every time they occur unless you define the true meaning of the jargon term once and then use it throughout the paper. – Peter Jansson Feb 2 '14 at 16:42
  • @NateEldredge, my field is interdisciplinary (physics, computer science). There are hardly any papers that cover both fields in the same detail. Usually one field refers to the other superficially. When I use cs terms they might be unfamilliar for physicists and vice versa. – sfat Feb 2 '14 at 16:50
  • @PeterJansson, this seems to be a reasonable solution, thanks! – sfat Feb 2 '14 at 16:53
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    "This" is not "emphasis". – JeffE Feb 2 '14 at 18:13

Your question was tagged 'publications' - if you plan on submitting work to a particular journal, it would be worth checking to see if they have a house style for jargon.

  • In my opinion, the right moment to worry about house styles is not before submission, but after acceptance. – Federico Poloni Feb 3 '14 at 7:48

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