Appropriate Running Title for a Research Paper

If you write a big research paper for the first time and need to publish your manuscript in a scientific journal, you might be having lots of questions about the running title. What is that? Where should it go? What do the editors expect from you? How to write it?

What Is It?

Let’s deal with the first question. A running title, which you might also know under a name “running head,” is a shortened version of the actual title that your research paper has. It’s not a universal requirement, but most journals that publish student works expect a running title to be present in the text.

Where Should It Go?

Running head usually finds place at the top of each page of the work except the actual title page. There are numerous reasons why a running title is a common requirement. First of all, it helps the editors to organize all the works without losing some pages and not being able to find their initial source. Second, it helps the readers to find the needed material since you can always know what article you see regardless of the page you open. Finally, running heads are used in mobile apps because they are more convenient than long titles.

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What Do the Editors Expect from You?

You won’t find one main requirement that all editors use because everyone has different expectations. However, don’t stress over it too much. A running title is not the key point of your manuscript so no one will be harshly critical if it’s not flawless. Nevertheless, there are some general tips you should consider.

Most running titles shouldn’t be longer than 50-60 symbols with spaces. To say a lot by saying a little, you can use abbreviations even when you don’t include any in the original title (remember that you should not include abbreviations in the original title). You’re also allowed to omit articles (a/an/the) as well as different filler words to save space. However, if your title was already short enough in the first place, you don’t necessarily need to do anything to it in the running head.

How to Write It?

One of the main rules of the research paper title is that it should be catchy to attract the reader’s attention. The running title doesn’t need to do that job. In most cases, the readers pay no attention to the running title for reasons other than reference so don’t try to make it sound catchy. Accuracy should be its main feature. Regarding the amount of information you mention, most authors stick to the idea of saving only the most important words in the running title.

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Research paper title: “The usage of slang by American college students as the means of group identification and fitting in the society of the 21st century”

Running title: “Usage of slang by American students in 21stc.”

As you can see, writing a running title is probably the easiest part of the whole research, and these tips will help you to do it appropriately.


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