Abbreviations and acronyms

Abbreviations are any shortened or contracted word or phrase. For example, writing POC instead of Proof of Concept, or PAP for Publish Ahead of Print.

In the most technical sense, there is a difference between acronyms (abbreviations pronounced as words, like ARTEMIS) and initialisms (abbreviations pronounced as letters, like POC). This guide refers to both as acronyms. The readability issues that acronyms and initialisms create tend to be similar.

Acronyms often confuse readers. Avoid them whenever possible, unless you're writing for an internal audience already familiar with them.

If an acronym is necessary for future reference, spell the full word and follow with the acronym in parentheses on the first reference. For example, The site was our POCĀ (Proof of Concept).

Some acronyms are more recognizable than their full spellings. For example, IBM. In such instances, the acronym is always acceptable, at the writer's discretion.