I want to write a paper on Mobile Screens in HCI, as phones are getting uncomfortably big for users, I want to provide some solution to the big screen phones or how logically state that how small screen phones are suitable for the user.

Coming back to question, for the above-mentioned reason, I was going to make a survey of big phone screen users, and I was going to mention it in my paper, is it okay to mention brand names of phones and their specific products with images?

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    Your question about whether this is a good topic can probably only be answered by an expert in your field; that's not the purpose of this site. Aug 26, 2014 at 4:46
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    I've removed the question about "is this the right topic," because it is indeed off-topic. The question about brands is relevant.
    – aeismail
    Aug 26, 2014 at 8:23
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    It would be helpful to get to know why you want to mention brand names - what information does the brand name/phone name convey that a '5" 1024x768 pixel screen phone' description does not?
    – DCTLib
    Aug 26, 2014 at 15:47
  • @DCTLib: I was going to mention the dimensions also, but I thought a more specific data such as phone model will connect relatively more to reader than not mentioning it. I think only dimensions shall suffice now.
    – 1binary0
    Aug 27, 2014 at 3:06
  • Mentioning the phone model may connect better to the reader (this is actually debatable) but the article will age terribly quickly. You will also face the problem that some models exist in different versions, depending for example on the country they are released (although not sure this applies to screen size).
    – Taladris
    Sep 9, 2014 at 11:21

3 Answers 3


For cases of the type you mention I would probably recommend not naming the brands. The reason for this is that the manufacturer is unlikely to be happy if you say that their equipment is not very good (and they can't all be good or there is nothing to write about). This is particularly important if they have given you samples/equipment to use for research.

The lab I'm at has done several comparisons of various software and microscopes for surface metrology and in all cases the equipment/software is just referred to as A, B, C etc.

While from my point of view the reasons for doing this are purely maintaining good relations I expect there is a legal aspect too. I know we have received long loans/discounts on some instruments which presumably involves a contract saying we can't publish anything negative about the instrument.

If a company has provided some equipment used in this sort of thing you may wish to put them in the acknowledgements. Although be aware this may de-anomimise you data. If very few people make an instrument of a certain type saying thanks to company X makes it obvious what it is. On the other hand knowledgeable readers could probably make an educated guess anyway.

  • What is the use of a report that says "there is some program that is better than the others, but we cannot tell you"?
    – Davidmh
    Aug 26, 2014 at 22:02

I don't know about hardware, but in case you feel like mentioning some software (and hardware often comes with software...), beware that the EULA can prohibit researchers and scientists from explicitly using the names of their systems in academic papers.

Oracle is notorious for that, they sued David DeWitt following some benchmarks he had published that mentioned Oracle, see the DeWitt Clause. Luckily the University of Wisconsin supported him, but Oracle banned all Wisconsin alumni for a while.

  • You can have a EULA for a piece of hardware?
    – Moriarty
    Aug 26, 2014 at 8:26
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    I'm curious whether the DeWitt Clause has been successfully defended in court.
    – JeffE
    Aug 26, 2014 at 10:02
  • @Moriarty, basically all hardware contains some software (firmware, OS, etc), and those can contain EULAs. That being said, I can't see how a person who surveys others who are bound by EULAs can be bound by those EULAs. Also, if the OP takes photographs of phones, that's probably a fair use of their trademarks/tradedress, but I'm not a lawyer.
    – Bill Barth
    Aug 26, 2014 at 11:20
  • @BillBarth The hardware and software are not always produced by the same company. In the OP's example, you can wipe the manufacturer's installation of Android from a phone, and install (for instance) CyanogenMod - without initially booting the phone and explicitly agreeing to the manufacturer's EULA (the legality of post-purchase EULA agreements is disputed, anyway). I'm no lawyer, but if the hardware and software are separable then it may only be the software component that's covered by a EULA. If the OP's paper is software-agnostic, I'm not sure if there's a problem.
    – Moriarty
    Aug 26, 2014 at 13:12

Although in some fields, this may be a problem, as Franck Dernoncourt has explained, in other fields, it is not only a good idea, but expected. For instance, in the laboratory sciences, you would normally list the vendors and suppliers who provided the "raw materials" being used, as well as, in many cases, the experimental apparatuses used to study them.

  • "in other fields, it is not only a good idea, but expected" - I think whether the information is expected from an academic point of view, whether it is legally unproblematic to include the information, and whether it is practically feasible (due to space restrictions) to actually do so are three independent questions. Aug 26, 2014 at 11:10
  • @O.R.Mapper a company that sells big lab machines and doesn't let their name to be published is going to have a hard time selling them.
    – Davidmh
    Aug 26, 2014 at 22:01
  • @Davidmh: "Lab machines" are not used in my field, so I didn't know that customers of those usually learn exclusively or primarily about them by mentions in papers. Such a willingness to disclose product names sounds beneficial for one of the three independent questions I listed, the one about publishing the product name being "legally unproblematic". Aug 27, 2014 at 7:43
  • @O.R.Mapper the point is not publicity. Complex machines have perks and quirks, and the results may differ from one to another. The knowledgeable experimentalist knows how to interpret this information, and if, for example, the weaknesses of your machine are relevant in your results. Space is not an issue, as in a typical study you only use one or two: not even a line.
    – Davidmh
    Aug 27, 2014 at 8:03
  • @Davidmh: The same can certainly be said about database engines, as well. They do have perks and quirks. And as a reader of a paper, I would love to know which engine was used to achieve a certain result. As for space, I'm used to "fighting" for single words in order to just prevent another linebreak that would create an additional page, but that may well be due to upper page count limits being comparably tight in my field. Aug 27, 2014 at 8:12

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