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In my research paper I used the phrase "this paper" to refer to the one I am writing and sometimes I write "the [other] paper" to refer to some other paper. The editor replaced "paper" with "study".

(Edit: The editor is not from a publisher. It is a service that checks my punctuation and spelling, before I submit my paper for peer-review.)

I thought that "study" refers to research in which one "goes out into the world, collects data and draws conclusions from that". That is NOT what I am doing, because I am writing a math paper. My main contribution is the theory not the experiments, which are case studies of my methods. (See what I did there? In the experiments section I do indeed use the word "study".) So, what I opted in for now is, to call other people work "literature" and my own work "this work".

Is the word "paper" bad style in scientific writing? I could also use the word "article" if that is better.

I understand that "research" refers to the entire body of publications on a topic, while "study" only refers to a single publication. But then again I could also say, "other's research [11]", while citing a specific paper, right?

When should I use which word:

  • paper,
  • study,
  • article,
  • literature,
  • research,
  • publication,
  • work?
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    In general usage, study doesn't require going out into the world and collecting data; it commonly refers to the opposite, i.e. sitting in a room and reading a book. If you think "study" means something different in mathematics, then you might be better off asking a roomful of mathematicians on the relevant stackexchange. Regardless, the word you should use is what the editor tells you to; they may well want to keep style consistent across all papers/studies.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 10 '21 at 16:17
  • @StuartF: The editor is not from a publisher. It is a service that checks my punctuation and spelling, before I submit my paper for peer-review.
    – Make42
    Oct 10 '21 at 17:24
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    What term do other papers in your field use?
    – jimm101
    Oct 10 '21 at 23:19
  • @jimm101: I have seen "paper", "literature", "research", and "work". I have not seen "article". I am not sure about "study" and "publication".
    – Make42
    Oct 11 '21 at 21:16
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Your usage is correct in the scientific community. Your editor may have excellent English but less experience with reading scientific publications, which have their own jargon and expressions.

I would stick with paper for all of the reasons you noted.

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  • Thanks! Can you comment on the usage of those other words that I mentioned?
    – Make42
    Oct 10 '21 at 11:45

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