Often in the discussion around scholarly communication, we see pleas for authors to write in plainer language, and to minimize the use of jargon. While I understand the motivation behind this, wanting non-experts to be able to understand research, to me it works against the main purpose of the published research paper — to serve as a high-level conversation among experts. A research paper must assume some level of prior knowledge, otherwise, for example, a molecular biologist would have to start each paper with an explanation of the structure of DNA and turn each research report into a textbook.
Explaining your results in a simple enough manner that anyone not versed in the field is a really good thing to be able to do, but it is not an easy skill to pick up (which is why we value effective science communicators like Carl Sagan or Neil DeGrasse Tyson so highly). And as with most suggestions about how to change the way research is reported, it’s best to think in terms of new things being additive, rather than substitutive. Can one add a “layman’s summary” to a paper without denigrating the value the paper offers for the expert?
Regardless, a friend recently sent the glorious jargon-filled video below. I have no idea what he’s selling, but it sounds great!