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I have two new terms that I introduce in my paper: resource security and CerberOS (the second is the name of the system). I use these terms in the title, abstract and body. How and where is emphasis best placed?

  • For the title, I use title case:

    CerberOS: Resource Security and Sharing for IoT Devices

  • For the abstract, at the moment, I’m italicizing but not capitalizing resource security at first usage, i.e.:

    bla bla bla ... resource security.

    I am italicizing CerberOS on first usage, i.e.:

    We made CerberOS.

  • I was thinking of doing the same for the body.

Is this too aggressive with the emphasis for the abstract? I was also thinking of capitalizing, but that is even more emphasis. Perhaps only capitalize resource security in the body?

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    Sidenote: In LaTeX it is almost always better to use \emph instead of \textit for single words or short terms, as this is intelligently handled in a full italic surrounding (e.g., if the journal style makes the entire abstract italic). – Wrzlprmft Jun 9 '16 at 9:15
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I would do the following:

  • Always capitalise CerberOS, but never italicise it¹. Capitalisation (and some other things like OS) clearly indicate that this is a proper name. It does not need emphasis to indicate that it’s a new technical term referring to some concept (or similar), because that’s simply not what it is: It is neither referring to a concept nor to a technical term.

    An exception is using italics to indicate that you are talking about the term itself, e.g.:

    We chose the name CerberOS because we are based in the Albanian city of Cerber – there is no connection to the mythical beast.

  • Italicise resource security on the first usage in a sentence¹, even if that’s in the abstract. If you give a more detailed introduction in the body of the paper, it may be reasonable to italicise it on its first usage in a sentence there as well¹. Do not italicise it in paper or section titles¹. Never capitalise it¹.

    The rationale for this is that one would expect the names of new concepts or similar to appear in titles and titles are not for explaining, but giving structure and a quick impression about the contents of a paper or section. The abstract and the body of the paper on the other hand are intended to be understood and here marking new terms is extremely helpful, as it lets the reader know that the term is new and nothing that they are not supposed to already know it.

    I see no argument for capitalising it that would not apply to many other technical terms as well and lead to papers in which every second word is capitalised.


¹ Except for situation where you would italicise/capitalise almost every word, such as the beginning of sentences or entire paragraphs in italics.

  • Thanks, this perfectly answers my question as well as correctly identifying the inspiration for CerberOS! (A security Operating System ) – Sven Akkermans Jun 9 '16 at 12:49

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