, Volume 98, Issue 3, pp 1601–1615

What a difference a colon makes: how superficial factors influence subsequent citation

  • Maarten van Wesel
  • Sally Wyatt
  • Jeroen ten Haaf

DOI: 10.1007/s11192-013-1154-x

Cite this article as:
van Wesel, M., Wyatt, S. & ten Haaf, J. Scientometrics (2014) 98: 1601. doi:10.1007/s11192-013-1154-x


Getting cited is important for scholars and for the institutions in which they work. Whether because of the influence on scientific progress or because of the reputation of scholars and their institutions, understanding why some articles are cited more often than others can help scholars write more highly cited articles. This article builds upon earlier literature which identifies seemingly superficial factors that influence the citation rate of articles. Three Journal Citation Report subject categories are analyzed to identify these effects. From a set of 2,016 articles in Sociology, 6,957 articles in General & Internal Medicine, and 23,676 articles in Applied Physics, metadata from the Web of Knowledge was downloaded in addition to PDFs of the full articles. In this article number of words in title, number of pages, number of references, sentences in the abstract, sentences in the paper, number of authors and readability were identified as factors for analysis.


CitationsReadabilityReferencesSociologyApplied PhysicsGeneral & Internal Medicine



JEL Classification


Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maarten van Wesel
    • 1
  • Sally Wyatt
    • 2
  • Jeroen ten Haaf
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life SciencesMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Technology and Society Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Education and Research Services, University LibraryMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands