2

I have a couple of questions for writing a (computer science) scientific/technical paper about the recommended style to enumerate or give a list of things.

This is my current sample:

Sharing IoT platforms requires support for: (i.) isolated software execution; (ii.) controlled resource allocation; (iii.) easy deployment of applications; and (iv.) secure management of applications. 

Questions:

1) is ";" a good demarcation? I've seen it recommended somewhere, but most people just use ",". 2) Is roman numerals recommended? If I use numerals, should I always use numerals (so no listing somewhere with (ii.) and with (2.) somewhere else. Is the overall style of brackets and punctuation OK? 3) What to do with repeating terms? In (iii.) and (iv.) I have the need to specify it is "of applications" but I hate the repetition. 4) Does it matter that this listing is intended to be part of the abstract? Should I use a slightly different style there or not?

Those are the main questions. In addition, I dislike the use of the word 'easy' in a paper. It is a bit... I don't know, trivial? But I'm loathe to use 'accessible' or 'simplified'. Deploying apps has become easier is what I want to say, but easy sounds wrong. But that could be me.

3

The reason for using ‘;’ rather than ‘,’ is to avoid ambiguity if the item/phrase includes a comma.

Whether to use small Roman numerals or Arabic numerals is a matter of style and whether you are using numerals elsewhere in your hierarchy. I think small Romans here are OK as they are somewhat less obtrusive (you are just using the x-height) than Arabic numerals.

Obviously, be consistent. You are creating a hierarchy of ideas and people can follow it more easily if the structure is consistent.

Repetition is sometimes unavoidable. In scientific writing it is more important to be unambiguous than to be elegant. And avoid ‘elegant variation’ — calling something by one name in one place (e.g. “The Prince”) and then something different elsewhere (“Charles”) and something else somewhere else (“our hero”). It confuses.

But...

I would definitely remove the period (full-stop) from (i.) etc. You already have parentheses to separate the ‘i’ from the rest of the sentence, so the stop is quite unnecessary. I’ve never encountered it in any scientific journal in my field.

And by the way...

If you are writing for a journal, do consult the Instuction to Authors and examples of recent papers. This will answer some of your questions about the style to adopt. Different journals have different house styles, and they won't change them for you (or even for me).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.