Weak evidence for determinants of citation frequency in ecological articles
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Citation frequency has been considered a biased surrogate of publication merit. However, previous studies on this subject were based on small sample sizes and were entirely based on null-hypothesis significance testing. Here we evaluated the relative effects of different predictors on citation frequency of ecological articles using an information theory framework designed to evaluate multiple competing hypotheses. Supposed predictors of citation frequency (e.g., number of authors, length of articles) accounted for a low fraction of the total variation. We argue that biases concerning citation are minor in ecology and further studies that attempt to quantify the scientific relevance of an article, aiming to make further relationships with citation, are needed to advance our understanding of why an article is cited.
KeywordsCitation frequency Ecological articles Merit Biases
We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments. We are also grateful to Amanda Winegardner, Ludgero G. Vieira and Marcos V. Cianciaruso for valuable discussions and suggestions during the preparation of this manuscript. A.A. Padial, J.C. Nabout and T. Siqueira acknowledge CAPES (Brazilian agency for Graduate Programs) and CNPq (Brazilian Agency for Scientific Research) for granting scholarships. L.M. Bini and J.A.F. Diniz-Filho are researchers of CNPq and also acknowledge this agency for research grants.
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