Growth in the number of references in engineering journal papers during the 1972–2013 period
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The number of references per paper, perhaps the best single index of a journal’s scholarliness, has been studied in different disciplines and periods. In this paper we present a four decade study of eight engineering journals. A data set of over 70,000 references was generated after automatic data gathering and manual inspection for errors. Results show a significant increase in the number of references per paper, the average rises from 8 in 1972 to 25 in 2013. This growth presents an acceleration around the year 2000, consistent with a much easier access to search engines and documents produced by the generalization of the Internet.
KeywordsNumber of references Citation density Engineering Citing behaviour Reference analysis
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