I have an accepted paper in which the editor asked for possible corrections (if any) before the publication.

In a part of the paper I have used the word "multipurposeness", and the editor commented on it: "Please check clarity the word 'multipurposeness'."

(My full sentence in the paper is: In this paper, mutipurposeness refers to simultaneous achieving of copyright protection and content authentication)

What does the editor's comment mean? Does it mean I should check if the word "multipuposeness" exist? What should I do? I have checked and found it in Wiktionary Is it an acceptable reference? Even more, should I give a reference as his response?

  • 6
    The editor is telling you politely to replace the word with something simpler. I'd change it and say thank you. Commented Feb 26, 2021 at 21:19
  • 1
    The role of the (copy)editor is not merely to enforce some definite rules but also to help you to make your paper easier to read. Rather than trying to win some quasi-legal argument with the editor as to whether the word exists, it would be wise to pause and think about whether there is a better way of saying what you are trying to say.
    – jsw29
    Commented Feb 26, 2021 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


Multipurposeness is — in my opinion — an obscure word. It's likely to be unfamiliar to the reader, and you have to ask whether it adds enough clarity to the text to make it worthwhile for the reader to deal with the unfamiliar word.

Additionally, it looks like you've coined a nonce usage that only applies to your paper.1 That means the reader has to reinstate the typical meaning of this obscure phrase, and then remember your unique adjustment to its meaning, every time they read it. That's a lot of work! Does it add enough clarity to make that effort worthwhile? That depends on the size of the text and how often the phrase is used. For a textbook where it's used throughout, and where the definition is easily accessible from the index, it's probably fine; for a short paper, I would be hesitant to use it.

1 The normal meaning is, the quality of having multiple uses; what you mean in this case is, the quality of having two specific uses.

You could try replacing each use of the term multipurposeness with a short phrase describing it's meaning, perhaps using a different phrase each time. This might require rewording the sentence a bit to fit the phrase in.

Here's an example,

This technique achieves multipurposeness, ...

could be converted to,

This technique achieves both of our goals, ...

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