PAPERS WITH SHORTER TITLES GET MORE CITATIONS
Intriguing correlation mined from 140,000 papers.
by Boer Deng
26 August 2015
To William Shakespeare, brevity was the soul of wit. For scientists, it may be even more valuable, as conciseness seems to correlate with how frequently a research paper is cited.
Adrian Letchford and his colleagues at the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK, analysed the titles of 140,000 of the most highly cited peer-reviewed papers published between 2007 and 2013 as listed on Scopus, a research-paper database. They compared the lengths of the papers’ titles with the number of times each paper was cited by other peer-reviewed papers-- a statistic sometimes used as a crude measure of importance.
As they report in Royal Society Open Science, "journals which publish papers with shorter titles receive more citations per paper".
The impetus for the current study came from a desire to pen better papers, says Letchford, and to see whether good writing is rewarded in research. "As scientists, we're all cursed," when it comes to writing, Letchford says, as researchers hone their specialised knowledge but often cannot explain themselves to readers outside their own field.
The entire post can be read here.