Skip to main content

A Study on the Readability of Scientific Publications

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 11799)

Abstract

Several works have used traditional readability measures to investigate the readability of scientific texts and its association with scientific impact . However, these works are limited in terms of dataset size, range of domains, and examined readability and impact measures. Our study addresses these limitations, investigating the readability of paper abstracts on a very large multidisciplinary corpus, the association of expert judgments on abstract readability with traditional readability measures, and the association of abstract readability with the scientific impact of the corresponding publication.

Keywords

  • Readability
  • Scientific impact
  • Text analysis

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-30760-8_12
  • Chapter length: 9 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-30760-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   89.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1.

Notes

  1. 1.

    http://opencitations.net/download (November 2018 Dump).

  2. 2.

    https://www.openacademic.ai/oag/.

  3. 3.

    https://www.crossref.org/services/metadata-delivery/rest-api/.

  4. 4.

    This is a restriction imposed by the textstat library (see Sect. 3.2).

  5. 5.

    http://bip.imsi.athenarc.gr:4000/documentation.

  6. 6.

    https://aminer.org/citation.

  7. 7.

    For each question, the interpretation of the extreme scale values (i.e., 1 and 5) were provided (actual wording is described in the dataset description page in Zenodo).

  8. 8.

    https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2651009.

  9. 9.

    https://github.com/shivam5992/textstat.

  10. 10.

    Recall that FRE scores increase with readability, contrary to the other measures.

  11. 11.

    Due to lack of space we omit \(\rho \) values, however the results were similar.

  12. 12.

    For this measurement, we used all overlapping D2 abstracts for each expert pair.

  13. 13.

    We omit \(\tau \) since it runs very slow on this dataset (\(\sim 12\)M papers).

References

  1. Bauerly, R.J., Johnson, D.T., Singh, M.: Readability and writing well. Mark. Manag. J. 16(1), 216–227 (2006)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bonett, D.G., Wright, T.A.: Sample size requirements for estimating pearson, kendall and spearman correlations. Psychometrika 65(1), 23–28 (2000)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  3. Bottle, R.T., Rennie, J.S., Russ, S., Sardar, Z.: Changes in the communication of chemical information I: some effects of growth. J. Inf. Sci. 6(4), 103–108 (1983)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  4. Crosier, K.: How effectively do marketing journals transfer useful learning from scholars to practitioners? Mark. Intell. Plan. 22(5), 540–556 (2004)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  5. Flesch, R.: A new readability yardstick. J. Appl. Psychol. 32(3), 221 (1948)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  6. Gazni, A.: Are the abstracts of high impact articles more readable? Investigating the evidence from top research institutions in the world. J. Inf. Sci. 37(3), 273–281 (2011)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  7. Ghosh, R., Kuo, T.T., Hsu, C.N., Lin, S.D., Lerman, K.: Time-aware ranking in dynamic citation networks. In: 2011 IEEE 11th International Conference on Data Mining Workshops, pp. 373–380. IEEE (2011)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Gunning, R.: The Technique of Clear Writing. McGraw-Hill, New York (1952)

    Google Scholar 

  9. Hartley, J., Pennebaker, J.W., Fox, C.: Abstracts, introductions and discussions: how far do they differ in style? Scientometrics 57(3), 389–398 (2003)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  10. Hartley, J., Sotto, E., Pennebaker, J.: Style and substance in psychology: are influential articles more readable than less influential ones? Soc. Stud. Sci. 32(2), 321–334 (2002)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  11. Lei, L., Yan, S.: Readability and citations in information science: evidence from abstracts and articles of four journals (2003–2012). Scientometrics 108(3), 1155–1169 (2016)

    MathSciNet  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  12. Letchford, A., Preis, T., Moat, H.S.: The advantage of simple paper abstracts. J. Informetr. 10(1), 1–8 (2016)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  13. Mc Laughlin, G.H.: Smog grading-a new readability formula. J. Read. 12(8), 639–646 (1969)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Page, L., Brin, S., Motwani, R., Winograd, T.: The PageRank citation ranking: bringing order to the web. Technical report, Stanford InfoLab (1999)

    Google Scholar 

  15. Plavén-Sigray, P., Matheson, G.J., Schiffler, B.C., Thompson, W.H.: The readability of scientific texts is decreasing over time. Elife 6, e27725 (2017)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  16. Sawyer, A.G., Laran, J., Xu, J.: The readability of marketing journals: are award-winning articles better written? J. Mark. 72(1), 108–117 (2008)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  17. Sinha, A., et al.: An overview of Microsoft academic service (MAS) and applications. In: Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web, pp. 243–246. ACM (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  18. Stremersch, S., Verniers, I., Verhoef, P.C.: The quest for citations: drivers of article impact. J. Mark. 71(3), 171–193 (2007)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  19. Tang, J., Zhang, J., Yao, L., Li, J., Zhang, L., Su, Z.: ArnetMiner: extraction and mining of academic social networks. In: Proceedings of the 14th ACM SIGKDD, pp. 990–998. ACM (2008)

    Google Scholar 

  20. Yeung, A.W.K., Goto, T.K., Leung, W.K.: Readability of the 100 most-cited neuroimaging papers assessed by common readability formulae. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 12, 308 (2018)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  21. Zamanian, M., Heydari, P.: Readability of texts: state of the art. Theory Pract. Lang. Stud. 2(1), 43–53 (2012)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We acknowledge support of this work by the project “Moving from Big Data Management to Data Science” (MIS 5002437/3) which is implemented under the Action “Reinforcement of the Research and Innovation Infrastructure”, funded by the Operational Programme “Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation” (NSRF 2014-2020) and co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thanasis Vergoulis .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this paper

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Vergoulis, T., Kanellos, I., Tzerefos, A., Chatzopoulos, S., Dalamagas, T., Skiadopoulos, S. (2019). A Study on the Readability of Scientific Publications. In: Doucet, A., Isaac, A., Golub, K., Aalberg, T., Jatowt, A. (eds) Digital Libraries for Open Knowledge. TPDL 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 11799. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30760-8_12

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30760-8_12

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-30759-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-30760-8

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)