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Which factors help authors produce the highest impact research? Collaboration, journal and document properties


  • Didegah, Fereshteh
  • Thelwall, Mike


This study assesses whether eleven factors associate with higher impact research: individual, institutional and international collaboration; journal and reference impacts; abstract readability; reference and keyword totals; paper, abstract and title lengths. Authors may have some control over these factors and hence this information may help them to conduct and publish higher impact research. These factors have been previously researched but with partially conflicting findings. A simultaneous assessment of these eleven factors for Biology and Biochemistry, Chemistry and Social Sciences used a single negative binomial-logit hurdle model estimating the percentage change in the mean citation counts per unit of increase or decrease in the predictor variables. The journal Impact Factor was found to significantly associate with increased citations in all three areas. The impact and the number of cited references and their average citation impact also significantly associate with higher article citation impact. Individual and international teamwork give a citation advantage in Biology and Biochemistry and Chemistry but inter-institutional teamwork is not important in any of the three subject areas. Abstract readability is also not significant or of no practical significance. Among the article size features, abstract length significantly associates with increased citations but the number of keywords, title length and paper length are insignificant or of no practical significance. In summary, at least some aspects of collaboration, journal and document properties significantly associate with higher citations. The results provide new and particularly strong statistical evidence that the authors should consider publishing in high impact journals, ensure that they do not omit relevant references, engage in the widest possible team working, when appropriate, and write extensive abstracts. A new finding is that whilst is seems to be useful to collaborate and to collaborate internationally, there seems to be no particular need to collaborate with other institutions within the same country.

Suggested Citation

  • Didegah, Fereshteh & Thelwall, Mike, 2013. "Which factors help authors produce the highest impact research? Collaboration, journal and document properties," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 861-873.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:infome:v:7:y:2013:i:4:p:861-873
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2013.08.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. S. Stremersch & I. Verniers & C. Verhoef, 2006. "The Quest for Citations: Drivers of Article Impact," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 06/422, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    2. Vieira, E.S. & Gomes, J.A.N.F., 2010. "Citations to scientific articles: Its distribution and dependence on the article features," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-13.
    3. Franceschet, Massimo & Costantini, Antonio, 2010. "The effect of scholar collaboration on impact and quality of academic papers," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 540-553.
    4. Hendrik P. van Dalen & K?ne Henkens, 2005. "Signals in science - On the importance of signaling in gaining attention in science," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 64(2), pages 209-233, August.
    5. Nagaoka, Sadao & Igami, Masatsura & Eto, Manabu & Ijichi, Tomohiro, 2010. "Knowledge Creation Process in Science : Basic findings from a large‐scale survey of researchers in Japan," IIR Working Paper 10-08, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    6. Bornmann, Lutz & Schier, Hermann & Marx, Werner & Daniel, Hans-Dieter, 2012. "What factors determine citation counts of publications in chemistry besides their quality?," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 11-18.
    7. Dag W Aksnes, 2003. "Characteristics of highly cited papers," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 159-170, December.
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