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The inner quality of an article: Will time tell?


  • Ho Fai Chan

    (Queensland University of Technology)

  • Malka Guillot

    (Ecole Nationale Statistique et de l’Administration Economique (ENSAE))

  • Lionel Page

    (Queensland University of Technology)

  • Benno Torgler

    () (Queensland University of Technology
    Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA))


In this paper, we assess whether quality survives the test of time in academia by comparing up to 80 years of academic journal article citations from two top journals, Econometrica and the American Economic Review. The research setting under analysis is analogous to a controlled real world experiment in that it involves a homogeneous task (trying to publish in top journals) by individuals with a homogenous job profile (academics) in a specific research environment (economics and econometrics). Comparing articles published concurrently in the same outlet at the same time (same issue) indicates that symbolic capital or power due to institutional affiliation or connection does seem to boost citation success at the beginning, giving those educated at or affiliated with leading universities an initial comparative advantage. Such advantage, however, does not hold in the long run: at a later stage, the publications of other researchers become as or even more successful.

Suggested Citation

  • Ho Fai Chan & Malka Guillot & Lionel Page & Benno Torgler, 2015. "The inner quality of an article: Will time tell?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 104(1), pages 19-41, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:104:y:2015:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-015-1581-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-015-1581-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Franklin G. Mixon & Benno Torgler & Kamal P. Upadhyaya, 2017. "Scholarly impact and the timing of major awards in economics," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 112(3), pages 1837-1852, September.
    2. Naomi Moy & Ho Fai Chan & Benno Torgler, 2018. "How much is too much? The effects of information quantity on crowdfunding performance," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(3), pages 1-15, March.
    3. Saikou Y. Diallo & Christopher J. Lynch & Ross Gore & Jose J. Padilla, 2016. "Identifying key papers within a journal via network centrality measures," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 107(3), pages 1005-1020, June.


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