, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 455–482 | Cite as

What makes a scientific article influential? The case of demographers

  • Hendrik P. Van Dalen
  • Kène Henkens


In this paper we examine, by means of a citation analysis, which factors influence the impactof articles published in demography journals between 1990 and 1992. Several quantifiablecharacteristics of the articles (characteristics with respect to authors, visibility, content andjournals) are strongly related to their subsequent impact in the social sciences. Articles are mostfrequently cited when they deal with empirical, ahistorical research focusing on populations in thedeveloped world, when they are prominently placed in a journal issue, when they are written inEnglish and when they appear in core demography journals. Furthermore, although eminentscholars are likely to be cited on the basis of their reputation, the effect of reputation appears to besmall in demography.


Social Science Citation Analysis Scientific Article Subsequent Impact Journal Issue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allison, P. D. (1978), The reliability of variables measured as the number of events in an interval of time, In: K. F. Schuessler (Ed.), Sociological Methodology, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Publishers, pp. 238-253.Google Scholar
  2. Allison, P. D., J. S. Long (1990), Departmental effects on scientific productivity, American Sociological Review, 55: 469-478.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, A. B., A. Baselevsky, D. P. J. Hume (1983), Missing data: A review of the literature, In: P. H. Rossi, J. D. Wright, A. B. Anderson (Eds), Handbook of Survey Research, New York, Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Archibald, R. B., D. H. Finifter (1990), Multivariate citation functions and journal rankings, Eastern Economic Journal, 16: 151-158.Google Scholar
  5. Baldi, S. (1998), Normative versus social constructivist processes in the allocation of citations: A networkanalytic model, American Sociological Review, 63: 829-846.Google Scholar
  6. Bayer, A. E. (1982), A bibliometric analysis of marriage and family literature, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 44: 527-538.Google Scholar
  7. Bayer, A. E., J. F. Folger (1966). Some correlates of a citation measure of productivity in science, Sociology of Education, 39: 381-389.Google Scholar
  8. Blank, R. (1991), The effects of double-blind versus single-blind reviewing: Experimental evidence from the American Economic Review, American Economic Review, 81: 1041-1067.Google Scholar
  9. Caldwell, D. C. (1996), Demography and social science, Population Studies, 50: 305-333.Google Scholar
  10. Clemens, E. S., W. W. Powell, K. Mcilwaine, D. Okamoto (1995), Careers in print: books, journals and scholarly publications, American Journal of Sociology, 101: 433-494.Google Scholar
  11. Clemente, F. (1973), Early career determinants of research productivity, American Journal of Sociology, 79: 409-419.Google Scholar
  12. Cole, J. R., S. Cole (1973), Social Stratification in Science, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Cox, R. A. K., K. H. Chung (1991), Patterns of research output and author concentration in the economics literature, Review of Economics and Statistics, 740-747.Google Scholar
  14. Cronin, B. (1984), The Citation ProcessThe Role and Significance of Citations in Scientific Communication, London, Taylor Graham.Google Scholar
  15. David, P.A. (1994), Positive feedbacks and research productivity in science: Reopening another black box, in O. Granstrand, (Ed.), Economics of Technology, Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 65-89.Google Scholar
  16. Demeny, P. (1988), Social science and population policy, Population and Development Review, 14: 451-479.Google Scholar
  17. Diamond, A. M. (1986), What is a citation worth?, Journal of Human Resources, 21: 200-215.Google Scholar
  18. Frey, B. S., R. Eichenberger (1993), American and European economics and economists, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9: 185-194.Google Scholar
  19. Frey, B. S., R. Eichenberger (1997), Economists: First semester, high flyers and UFOs, In: P.A.G. Van Bergeijk et al. (Eds) Economic Science and Practice, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 15-48.Google Scholar
  20. Gilbert, N. (1977), Referencing as persuasion, Social Studies of Science, 7: 112-122.Google Scholar
  21. GlÄnzel, W., U. Schoepflin (1995), A bibliometric study of ageing and reception processes of scientific literature, Journal of Information Science, 21: 37-53.Google Scholar
  22. Greenhalgh, S. (1996), The social construction of population science: An intellectual, institutional, and political history of twentieth-century demography, Comparative Studies of Society and History, 38: 26-66.Google Scholar
  23. Hamilton, D. P. (1990), Publishing by-and for?-the numbers, Science, 250: 1331-1332.Google Scholar
  24. Hamilton, D. P. (1991), Research papers: Who is cited now?, Science, 251: p. 25.Google Scholar
  25. Hargens, L. L., W. O. Hagstrom (1982), Scientific consensus and academic status attainment patterns, Sociology of Education, 55: 183-196.Google Scholar
  26. Hargens, L. L., H. Schuman (1990), Citation counts and social comparisons: Scientists' use and evaluation of citation index data, Social Science Research, 19: 205-221.Google Scholar
  27. Hodgson, D. (1991), The ideological origins of the population association of America, Population and Development Review, 17: 1-34.Google Scholar
  28. Holub, H. W., G. Tappeiner, V. Eberharter (1991), The iron law of important articles, Southern Economic Journal, 58: 317-328.Google Scholar
  29. Keyfitz, N. (1993), Thirty years of demography and Demography, Demography, 30: 533-549.Google Scholar
  30. Latour, B. (1987), Science in ActionHow to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society, Milton Keynes, Open University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Lindsey, D. (1978), The Scientific Publication System in Social Science, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  32. Lotka, A. J. (1926), The frequency distribution of scientific productivity, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 16: 317-323.Google Scholar
  33. May, R. M. (1997), The scientific wealth of nations, Science, 275: 793-796.Google Scholar
  34. Merton, R. K. (1957), Priorities in scientific discovery, American Sociological Review, 22: 635-659.Google Scholar
  35. Merton, R. K. (1968), The Matthew effect in science, Science, 159: 56-63.Google Scholar
  36. Merton, R. K. (1973), The Sociology of Science, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  37. Pendlebury, D. A. (1991), Letter, Science, 251: 1410-1411.Google Scholar
  38. Portes, A. (1998), Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology, Annual Review of Sociology, 24: 1-24.Google Scholar
  39. Price, D. J. de Solla (1963), Little Science, Big Science, New York, Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Price, D. J. de Solla (1976), A general theory of bibliometric and other cumulative advantage processes, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 27: 292-306.Google Scholar
  41. Schwartz, C. A. (1997), The rise and fall of uncitedness, College & Research Libraries, 58: 19-29.Google Scholar
  42. Smart, S., J. J. Waldfogel (1996), A Citation-Based Test for Discrimination at Economics and Finance Journals, NBER Working Paper, no. 5460, Cambridge MA.Google Scholar
  43. Stewart, J. A. (1983), Achievement and ascriptive processes in the recognition of scientific articles, Social Forces, 62: 166-184.Google Scholar
  44. Teachman, J. D., K. Paasch, K. P. Carver (1993), Thirty years of Demography, Demography, 30: 523-532.Google Scholar
  45. Tijssen, R. J. W., T. N. Van Leeuwen, B. Verspagen, H. Hollanders (1998), Wetenschaps-en technologie-indicatoren 1998 (transl. 'science and Technology Indicators 1998'), Leiden: DSWO Press.Google Scholar
  46. Van Dalen, H. P., K. Henkens (1999), How influential are demography journals?, Population and Development Review, 25, 229-251.Google Scholar
  47. Xie, Y., K. A. Schauman (1998), Sex differences in research productivity: New evidence about an old puzzle, American Sociological Review, 63: 847-870.Google Scholar
  48. Zuckerman, H. (1977), The Scientific EliteNobel Laureates in the United States, New York, Free Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers/Akadémiai Kiadó 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hendrik P. Van Dalen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kène Henkens
    • 2
  1. 1.Scientific Council for Government PolicyThe Hague(The Netherlands)
  2. 2.Tinbergen Institute and OCFEBErasmus University RotterdamRotterdam(The Netherlands)

Personalised recommendations