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Published March 22, 2022 | Version v1
Preprint Open

Reflecting on the use of persuasive communication devices in academic writing

  • 1. Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • 2. Lund University, Sweden; University of Aberdeen, UK; NHS Grampian, UK
  • 3. Access 2 Perspectives
  • 4. University of Surrey, UK
  • 5. University of Nottingham, UK
  • 6. Research Center Jülich, Germany
  • 7. University of Sussex, UK
  • 8. Maseno University, Kenya


This collective preprint is an active document intended to encourage reflection on academic writing. It is meant to evolve as a result of continuous input from interested contributors. Everyone is welcome who wants to contribute.



As researchers, we use academic writing to present our results to other academics and to a wider audience. In doing so, we may be tempted to use persuasive communication devices for promoting our research. These devices may be at risk of misleading readers and reviewers when assessing our research. In this document, we identify a list of such communication devices. A precursor of this list was originally shared on Twitter by Olivier Corneille who received comments and additional examples collected in the list below. We discussed and clustered them as a result of reflections made on our own writing style, as well as observations made in research articles by other authors.

The items are organized along a tentative typology that may be reconsidered at a later stage. We focus on writing styles that apply to the presentation and interpretation of research findings, including data visualization, but excluding issues related to methods and statistical analyses.

Our intention with this document is to encourage self-reflection amongst authors (contributing researchers) as well as reviewers and editors on the use and potential misuse of persuasive communication devices in written scholarly reports, so that we as a global scholarly community can uphold highest possible standards to research rigor.

Please feel free to make suggestions in THIS LIVE DOCUMENT.



Olivier Corneille, UCLouvain, Belgium, ORCID: 0000-0003-4005-4372, Twitter: @opatcorneille

Harriet Carroll, Lund University, Sweden; University of Aberdeen, UK; NHS Grampian, UK, ORCID: 0000-0002-4998-4675, Twitter: @angryhacademic

Jo Havemann, Access 2 Perspectives, Germany, ORCID: 0000-0002-6157-1494, Twitter: @openscicomm 

Emma L. Henderson, University of Surrey, ORCID: 0000-0002-5396-2321, Twitter: @EmmaHendersonRR

Nicholas P. Holmes, (University of Nottingham, UK), ORCID: 0000-0001-9268-4179, Twitter: @TheHandLab

Leon D. Lotter, Research Center Jülich, Germany, ORCID: 0000-0002-2337-6073, Twitter: @LeonDLotter

Peter Lush, (University of Sussex), ORCID: 0000-0002-0402-1699, Twitter: @PeterLush4

Nicholas Outa, Maseno University, Kenya, ORCID: 0000-0002-4085-0398, Twitter: @nichouta 


Corresponding authors: OH, & JH,

Acknowledgements: We thank all commenters on Twitter and suggestions via e-mail that reached us, a.o. from Dr. Iain Johnston (ORCID: 0000-0001-8559-3519). Original Twitter thread:

Contributions according to Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT)

  • Conceptualisation and writing original draft: OC 

  • Writing - review & editing: JH, HC, NO, HC, LDL, ELH, NPH, PL



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