In scientific literature both ways are used. Another example is: 'generation of electricity' vs. 'electricity generation'. In other situations, however, 'of' seems to be required: 'addition of sugar' is correct whereas 'sugar addition' is probably not. (I am not a native speaker.) Also, there are situations with nouns that are derived from verbs that don't have a latin origin: for example, 'nation-building' (why use a hyphen?). Here omitting the 'of' is apparently legitimate. However, 'plugging of plugs' cannot be shortened to 'plug-plugging', can it? Is there a correct way for the example in the tile of this question in particular? If so, are there definite rules that explain the correct spelling of the other cases?

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    Possible duplicate of Attributive nouns vs. of-genitive – Edwin Ashworth Feb 14 '18 at 20:23
  • @Edwin Ashworth: Thank you for the hint - it provides me with some linguistic vocabulary I was lacking when searching for an answer. However, I think my case may be different as in all examples one of my nouns is derived from a verb. That means the term possessive may not apply: generation can not really be considered an element of entropy, can it, whereas the secretary is elemtent of the department? – Jonny Feb 14 '18 at 22:07
  • ' ... in all examples one of my nouns is derived from a verb' Not necessarily true: << generate (v.) c. 1500, "to beget" (offspring), a back-formation from generation or else from Latin generatus, past participle of generare "to beget, produce," from genus "race, kind" >> (Etymon). – Edwin Ashworth Feb 14 '18 at 22:30

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