, Volume 98, Issue 3, pp 1601-1615

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

  • Maarten van WeselAffiliated withDepartment of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University Email author 
  • , Sally WyattAffiliated withDepartment of Technology and Society Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University
  • , Jeroen ten HaafAffiliated withDepartment of Education and Research Services, University Library, Maastricht University

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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.


Citations Readability References Sociology Applied Physics General & Internal Medicine



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