Which paper would you rather read: "The Gezi Park Protests: a change towards modern democracy or a fuelled backlash leading to a more rapid "Islamification" of Turkey? Exploring the effect of the protests on Turkey's domestic and global position in a social, economic and political context." Or: "Before you occupy that park, read this and tell me your mind isn't blown."
The prospect of having your mind blown is a lot more likely to get a click than a long-winded academic title. That's the premise behind Clickbait Dissertations, a Tumblr that spices up the titles of academic papers with Upworthy-style headlines.
Academics submit their dissertation title and abstract and the Clickbait Dissertations showrunner takes a stab at turning some of them into headlines that scream for eyeballs. "The academic market is really competitive these days, and let's face it, nobody really reads our work. So I humbly suggest that we all move towards the clickbait model of dissertation titles. My dream is one day, some poor soul will click on an Upworthy link, and end up downloading a 300 page dissertation on the history of sequins," reads the Tumblr.
Pretty much every reworked title here is a winner. "Students, violence, and violent student speech: The preservation of First Amendment rights in a frightening age" becomes "These kids literally yelled fire in a crowded lecture theater. Here's why we should let them."
Just because the headlines are clickbait doesn't mean all the academic-speak is stripped away. Scholars will get a kick out of "Student Transformational Learning in Regional Academic Travel at New York University Abu Dhabi" becoming "These students thought they were doing a semester abroad. What actually happened is phenomenographical."
No doubt, some of these dissertations are probably fascinating reads. If it takes a hyperbolic headline to pull in readers, is that such a bad thing?