A big name researcher gives a name to a specific utility function 30 years ago. Now I am writing a paper and feel that a new name might be more suited because of the properties associated with the utility function.

That name was not heavily cited.

Can I give it a new name, or will the readers find the new name weird, overwhelming, and confusing?

  • $\begingroup$ I think this is bit too opinion based even for soft question. It would also be more helpful if you would be more specific (please consider adding some references to that utility function). Generally if something has well established name it’s best to follow it, if you have very good reasons to rename it you should discuss that in a paper and convince your readers (especially the anonymous referees) that the change in terminology is warranted $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Mar 25 at 7:27
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    $\begingroup$ Given that people still use the somewhat unfortunate acronym of an Almost ideal demand system, there seems to be a strong bias to the status quo. $\endgroup$ – Michael Greinecker Mar 25 at 8:57

You can do whatever you want, it's your paper. Will it make it more difficult to publish? Yeah. Referees are fickle and easily annoyed.

You would not be the first person to go down this route. For example, the term Maskin monotonicity is common place in implementation theory. However, some authors use another term, I believe Maskin invariance. The claim is that invariance is a more appropriate term for the definition. Its worth noting that all of these authors had the same advisor who is a giant in the field.

  • $\begingroup$ Are those authors who replace "monotoniciy" with "invariance" successful in publication? I find one Mathematical Social Sciences (2019) and an arxiv 2019 using the term Maskin Invariance. By your second sentence, are you implying that if those authors use "monotonicity", then it might be easier for them to get published in a better place? $\endgroup$ – High GPA Mar 26 at 11:09

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