, Volume 103, Issue 3, pp 1073–1082 | Cite as

An academic odyssey: writing over time

  • James Hartley
  • Guillaume Cabanac


In this paper we present and discuss the results of six enquiries into the first author’s academic writing over the last 50 years. Our aim is to assess whether or not his academic writing style has changed with age, experience, and cognitive decline. The results of these studies suggest that the readability of textbook chapters written by Hartley has remained fairly stable for over 50 years, with the later chapters becoming easier to read. The format of the titles used for chapters and papers has also remained much the same, with an increase in the use of titles written in the form of questions. It also appears that the format of the chosen titles had no effect on citation rates, but that papers that obtained the highest citation rates were written with colleagues rather by Hartley alone. Finally it is observed that Hartley’s publication rate has remained much the same for over 50 years but that this has been achieved at the expense of other academic activities.


Academic writing Productivity Ageing Longitudinal study Writing style 



We are grateful to two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions, and particularly to the one who cast our data into graphical forms.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyKeele UniversityStaffordshireUK
  2. 2.Computer Science Department, IRIT UMR 5505 CNRSUniversity of ToulouseToulouseFrance

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