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Until ten minutes ago I thought sentences like "The model due to X et al. (2016) explains Y and Z" were common in academic writing. Our post-doc raised doubt about the phrase's correctness, and Googling it I find very few uses. None of them I can confirm were written by a native speaker.

So, is that a common/correct way of saying X et al. proposed the model in their paper from 2016, and if not, what are alternatives?

migrated from academia.stackexchange.com Jun 19 '14 at 15:28

This question came from our site for academics and those enrolled in higher education.

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    How about "the model proposed by X et al. (2016)"? – Stephan Kolassa Jun 19 '14 at 14:21
  • It's about writing, but if that way of saying things is common, it is probably common only in scientific writing. The audience here seems more used to scientific writing than the broad audience at English Language & Usage. – Johannes Bauer Jun 19 '14 at 14:23
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    It is the "due to" that seems out of place to me. – Fiona Taylor Gorringe Jun 19 '14 at 14:25
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    It is too late now, but in principle I am against migrating away questions that are specifically about common phrases in academic writing. – xLeitix Jun 19 '14 at 15:39
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    What/Why was the doubt about its correctness? It's grammatical. It makes sense. A lay reader may find it a little difficult but your target audience should breeze through it. You can rephrase it but that's not a question for ELU. – Kris Jun 19 '14 at 15:42
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Due to in this sense is ordinarily used to express the cause of an event or state:

Our success was due to our superior model.
Icecap melting due to global warming will have far-reaching consequences.

I have seen this use of due to to express the origin or creator of an entity, but it grates on my ear. We certainly do not say that Hamlet is “due to” Shakespeare or that the General Theory of Relativity is “due to” Einstein, and your example seems similar to me. I advise you to avoid this and say something like what Stephen Kolassa suggests:

The model proposed by X et al. (2016) ...

—or “proposed in” or “put forward by/in” or “described by/in” or whatever is most appropriate to the circumstances.

By the way, this has nothing to do with the controversial question, discussed here, of whether due to phrases and clauses may be employed adverbially.

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    To a great degree, this hinges on the kind of model and how it was made. Mostly models are proposed, as theories and hypotheses. An accepted model that has significant mathematical aspects (say quantum mechanics), and which can be attributed to some individual(s) as its originator(s), can be said to be due to certain people (with their principal paper cited by date, as usual). Nowadays, in some fields, "model" means an algorithm, or family of algorithms, or programs, which take serious construction and need to be tested on data. If they work, they get attributed, and authors get their due. – John Lawler Jun 19 '14 at 16:37
  • That was my intuition: "due to X" is sort of a short version of "the model for which we have to thank X". Since there seems to be no consensus, I think I won't be using that phrase in the future, though. – Johannes Bauer Jun 20 '14 at 8:00
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My grammar is not great, but I believe in your example "X et al. (2016)" is a noun phrase. If we replace it with another noun phrase "the incredible John Doe" we get "The model due to the incredible John Doe explains Y and Z." This does not seem as nice as "The incredible John Doe model explains Y and Z".

  • True. In that situation that's probably the best way to say it. How about "Our model is much better than the one due to X et al. (2016)"? I could put "proposed by", but "due to" is shorter. Would you think it's ok? – Johannes Bauer Jun 19 '14 at 15:18
  • Shorter is not necessarily better. – JeffE Jun 19 '14 at 21:19

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