We are in the process of publishing a paper in Communications Chemistry, for which we devised the following title:

All paths lead to hubs: the case of water isotopologues

However, the editor asked us to change the title because it does not comply the journal's (quite broad and inexact) house standards, specifically:

The title should summarize the key findings in a single statement of 15 words or fewer.

It also turned out that they would not allow a title which contains two (more or less) isolated statements with long dashes, commas, colons, semicolons, etc.

To treat this situation, we thought of the following form:

All paths lead to hubs in spectroscopic networks of water isotopologues

but this is not really what we would like to say. The correct meaning would be the following:

All paths lead to hubs in spectroscopic networks such as in those of water isotopologues

but this does not sound like a title. Is there any way to reflect the latter meaning in a title which retains the witty paraphrasis "all paths lead to hubs"? Thank you in advance for your help.

To give the title a context, this is the abstract of our manuscript:

In spectroscopic networks, where the nodes are quantum states and the edges are transitions connecting states, hubs are the most important states with the largest number of incident transitions. Utilizing network paths probed via precision metrology, absolute energies have been derived, with a 10-digit accuracy, for almost 200 hubs in the experimental networks of H₂16O and H₂18O. These hubs, lying on the ground vibrational states of both species and the bending fundamental of H₂16O, participate in tens of thousands of observed transitions. Relying on the same hubs and other states, benchmark-quality line lists were assembled, which supersede and improve, by three orders of magnitude, the accuracy of the vast amount of measurements published in hundreds of papers dealing with Doppler-limited spectroscopy. Due to the omnipresence of water, these ultraprecise line lists could be applied to calibrate high-resolution spectra and serve ongoing and upcoming space missions.

  • 1
    A link to the Wikipedia definition of an isotopologue might be useful for the non-chemists here (or for folks like me who only studied chemistry at the undergrad level). I still don't fully understand your abstract even after reading that, but at least I managed to rule out several potential misunderstandings. Dec 14, 2023 at 21:07
  • 1
    Also, your "All paths lead to hubs in spectroscopic networks such as in those of water isotopologues" is exactly 15 words. Just saying. :) Dec 14, 2023 at 21:09
  • 1
    (And the second "in" could and IMO should be dropped to get it down to just 14, while making it more idiomatic.) Dec 14, 2023 at 21:10
  • 1
    Honestly, most of my confusion simply stems from unfamiliarity with the terminology, and the fact that I'm probably outside your target audience even in the broadest sense. My main initial confusion was that I was unfamiliar with the term "isotopologue" and my brain at first tried to parse it as a combination of iso- and topology, rather than as a portmanteau of isotope and analogue. As for the rest, I think I'm starting to get it after several re-readings. I'm still unclear on some details (like how did you probe the paths) but those may be out of scope for the abstract. Dec 14, 2023 at 21:36
  • 1
    Anyway, I do have a couple of questions that might help me suggest improvements: (1) Are there any spectroscopic networks where all paths do not lead to hubs? (2) Does your current paper actually include novel general results for networks other than those of water isotopologues, or is that something for future work? (3) Did you (i.e. authors of this paper) derive the absolute energies for these hub states and assemble the line lists? (If not, who did? If yes, why the passive voice?) Dec 14, 2023 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


Since, if I understand correctly, the water isotopologues are just one example for spectroscopic networks and since all paths lead to hubs in all spectroscopic networks, the example of the water isotopologues seems superfluous in the title and a sufficient and more concise title would be "All paths lead to hubs in spectroscopic networks" in my opinion.

Edit after your comments

If, as you say, "water isotopologues have these (spectroscopic) networks, they are not networks themselves", then the following seems an elegant possibility:

All paths lead to hubs in the spectroscopic networks of water isotopologues

Edit after your abstract

Your abstract seems to imply the following summary of your research:

Hubs participate in tens of thousands of observed transitions between the nodes of spectroscopic networks   (15 words)

Or possibly, since your proposed title says "all paths":

Hubs participate in all (observed) transitions between the nodes of spectroscopic networks of water isotopologues   (14 or 15 words)

  • Thanks for posting this answer. Yeah, that's the case, water is just an example. However, this example is studied experimentally in the manuscript, so I would be useful to include water in the title for better searchability (a part of the target audience is interested only in the details on water).
    – TobiR
    Dec 14, 2023 at 11:17
  • 1
    Okay. The problem is that I have no idea what your proposed title means. Is "all paths lead to" the result of your experiment or just a figure of speech? If it is a figure of speech, it needs to go. –– Can you post your abstract? Reading that will make it easier to understand what the title needs to say.
    – Ben
    Dec 14, 2023 at 14:27
  • If water isotopologues is the one case you specifically study, but the work is also applicable to other spectroscopic networks, then you about “All paths lead to hubs in water isotopologues and other spectroscopic networks”?
    – gidds
    Dec 14, 2023 at 18:52
  • @Ben Sure, it is now included in the body of my question.
    – TobiR
    Dec 14, 2023 at 20:24
  • @gidds Thanks for your comment. The problem is that water isotopologues have these (spectroscopic) networks, they are not networks themselves.
    – TobiR
    Dec 14, 2023 at 20:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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