Article title type and its relation with the number of downloads and citations Authors
First Online: 19 May 2011 Received: 19 April 2011 DOI:
Cite this article as: Jamali, H.R. & Nikzad, M. Scientometrics (2011) 88: 653. doi:10.1007/s11192-011-0412-z Abstract
Title of an article can be descriptive, declarative or a question. It plays important role in both marketing and findability of article. We investigate the impact of the type of article titles on the number of citations and downloads articles receive. Number of downloads and citations for all articles published in six of PLoS (Public Library of Science) journals (2,172 articles) were obtained from PLoS and type of each article’s title (including descriptive, indicative and question) was determined as well as the number of substantive words in title (title length). Statistical difference and correlation tests were carried out. The findings showed that differences exist between articles with different types of titles in terms of downloads and citations, especially articles with question titles tended to be downloaded more but cited less than the others. Articles with longer titles were downloaded slightly less than the articles with shorter titles. Titles with colon tended to be longer and receive fewer downloads and citations. As expected, number of downloads and citations were positively correlated.
Keywords Article titles Download Citation Title length Colon References
Anthony, L. (2001). Characteristic features of research article titles in computer science.
IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication,
Ball, R. (2009). Scholarly communication in transition: The use of question marks in the titles of scientific articles in medicine, life sciences and physics 1966–2005.
Buxton, A. B., & Meadows, A. J. (1977). The variation in the information content of titles of research papers with time and discipline.
Journal of Documentation,
Diodato, V. (1982). The occurence of title words in parts of research papers: Variation among disciplines.
Journal of Documentation,
(3), 192–206. doi:
Gustavii, B. (2008).
How to write and illustrate scientific papers (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hartley, J. (2007a). Colonic titles.
Journal of the European Medical Writers Association,
Hartley, J. (2007b). Planning that title: Practices and preferences for titles with colons in academic articles.
Library and Information Science Research,
Hitchcock, S., Brody, T., Gutteridge, C., Carr, L., Hall, W., Harnad, S., et al. (2002). Open citation linking: The way forward.
. Accessed 5 April 2011.
Jacques, T. S., & Sebire, N. J. (2009). The impact of article titles on citation hits: An analysis of general and specialist medical journals.
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Short Reports,
Kane, T. S. (2000).
Oxford Essential Guide to writing. New York: Berkley.
Lewison, G., & Hartley, J. (2005). What’s in a title? Numbers of words and the presence of colons.
Manten, A. A., & Greenhalgh, J. F. D. (1977). Titles of scientific papers.
Animal Feed Science and Technology,
Moed, H. F. (2005). Statistical relationships between downloads and citations at the level of individual documents within a single journal.
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology,
Moore, A. (2010).
Do Article Title Attributes Influence Citations?. New York: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing News.
Sagi, I., & Yechiam, E. (2008). Amusing titles in scientific journals and article citation.
Journal of Information Science,
Soler, V. (2007). Writing titles in science: An exploratory study.
English for Specific Purposes,
Tocatlian, J. J. (1970). Are titles of chemical papers becoming more informative?
Journal of the American Society for Information Science,
(5), 345–350. doi:
Wang, Y., & Bai, Y. (2007). A corpus-based syntactic study of medical research article titles.
, 388–399. doi:
Wu, S. F., & Chen, H. J. (2000). Two-stage multiple comparisons with the average for normal distributions under heteroscedasticity.
Computational Statistics & Data Analysis,
Yitzhaki, M. (1994). Relation of title length of journal articles to number of authors.
Yitzhaki, M. (1997). Variations in informativity of titles of research papers in selected humanities journals: A comparative study.
Yitzhaki, M. (2002). Relation of the title length of a journal article to the length of the article.
CrossRef Copyright information
© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011