Oppenheimer, Daniel M. "Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: Problems with using long words needlessly." Applied Cognitive Psychology 20, no. 2 (2006): 139-156. looked at the impact of using complex words on the graduate admission probability.

Is there any research/study/survey that looked at the impact of using complex words on the paper acceptance probability?

I am most interested in the field of computer science, and English-speaking venues.

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    Is there any dataset of submitted papers, labeled with editor decision (accept, reject, revision)? that would be a fun dataset to play with.
    – ff524
    Feb 26, 2016 at 22:02
  • @ff524 yes such a dataset would be interesting, I'm looking for that as well: Does any publication venue make rejected papers available for download? Feb 26, 2016 at 22:03
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    I don't know of any study like this, but I'd be surprised if there was a correlation. Sometime a complex word is a precise word, and therefore it adds clarity to the narrative. Other times, a complex word is nothing but a fancy word that obfuscates meaning. Above all, authors should strive to communicate clearly. Hopefully, referees judge papers based on the quality of the research and the clear understandability of the presented findings, and wouldn't be easily influenced by the injection of highfalutin synonyms.
    – J.R.
    Feb 26, 2016 at 22:23
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    @ff524, fun yes. Available, hopefully not, at the very least for privacy reasons.
    – vonbrand
    Feb 27, 2016 at 0:16
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1 Answer 1


I cannot reply directly to your question on complex words, but it appears that complex (long) titles are associated with fewer citations (see Deng). So, you might extrapolate that complex words are going to decrease the likelihood of citations and, further extrapolating, possibly also of acceptance.

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