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Signals in Science - On the Importance of Signaling in Gaining Attention in Science

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  • Hendrik P. van Dalen

    () (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Kène Henkens

    () (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague)

Abstract

Which signals are important in gaining attention in science? For a group of 1,371 scientific articles published in 17 demography journals in the years 1990-1992 we track their influence and discern which signals are important in receiving citations. Three types of signals are examined: the author’s reputation (as producer of the idea), the journal (as the broker of the idea), and the state of uncitedness (as an indication of the assessment by the scientific community of an idea). The empirical analysis points out that, first, the reputation of journals plays an overriding role in gaining attention in science. Second, in contrast to common wisdom, the state of uncitedness does not affect the future probability of being cited. And third, the reputation of a journal may help to get late recognition (so-called ‘sleeping beauties’) as well as generate so-called ‘flash-in-the-pans’: immediately noted articles but apparently not very influential in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik P. van Dalen & Kène Henkens, 2004. "Signals in Science - On the Importance of Signaling in Gaining Attention in Science," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-113/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:tin:wpaper:20040113
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arjo Klamer & Hendrik van Dalen, 2001. "Attention and the art of scientific publishing," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 289-315.
    2. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1994. "Facts and Myths about Refereeing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 153-163, Winter.
    3. Hendrik P. van Dalen & Kene Henkens, 2000. "What makes a Scientific Article influential?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-032/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Hendrik P. van Dalen & Kène Henkens, 1999. "How Influential Are Demography Journals?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(2), pages 229-251, June.
    5. Joshua S. Gans & George B. Shepherd, 1994. "How Are the Mighty Fallen: Rejected Classic Articles by Leading Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 165-179, Winter.
    6. David N. Laband, 1990. "Is There Value-Added from the Review Process in Economics?: Preliminary Evidence from Authors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 341-352.
    7. Siow, Aloysius, 1997. "Some evidence on the signalling role of research in academia," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 271-276, July.
    8. Frey, Bruno S, 2003. "Publishing as Prostitution?--Choosing between One's Own Ideas and Academic Success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(1-2), pages 205-223, July.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    signaling; duration dependence; journals; impact; citations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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