Skip to content

Lengthy manuscript titles lead to fewer citations

In a study published earlier this year, John Hudson assessed the characteristics of >155,500 titles from journal articles submitted in the UK’s 2014 Research Evaluation Framework (the REF).  Specifically, Professor Hudson examined the impact of multiple authorship on various aspects of the title and their impact on citations.

According to the paper, citations significantly decline with title length in certain disciplines including clinical medicine, biology and physics. While using a question mark in a journal paper’s title was also associated with a reduction in the number of citations it received, the use of a colon tended to improve the citations received by a paper. As an example, the author establishes that for Clinical Medicine, doubling the title length and using a question mark reduces the number of citations by 15.9 and 19.0, respectively. Consistent with previous studies, Hudson also found that papers with multiple authorship tended to receive higher citation rates, but numerous authors also led to longer titles.

The advantage of short paper titles has been noted previously, and various explanations proposed. For example, high-impact journals might restrict title length, incremental research might be published under longer titles in less prestigious journals, or shorter titles may be easier to understand, enabling wider readership and increasing the influence of a paper.

Professor Hudson surmises that increasing title length may be the result of having to expand the title to reflect the views of numerous authors. However, multiple authorship may bring specific gains, as academics with differing expertise combine to do research they would find difficult to do alone.

Words.png

——————————————————–

Summary by Louise Niven, DPhil from Aspire Scientific

Categories

Medical writing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: