Nov 4, 2014

Scientometric correlates of high-quality reference lists in ecological papers

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Christopher J FriedlineAndrew J Eckert


It is said that the quality of a scientific publication is as good as the science it cites, but the properties of high-quality reference lists have never been numerically quantified. We examined seven numerical characteristics of reference lists of 50,878 primary research articles published in 17 ecological journals between 1997 and 2017. Over this 20-years period, there have been significant changes in reference lists properties. On average, more recent ecological papers have longer reference lists, cite more high Impact Factor papers, and fewer non-journal publications. Furthermore, we show that highly cited papers across the ecology literature have longer reference lists, cite more recent and impactful papers, and account for more self-citations. Conversely, the proportion of classic papers and non-journal publications cited, as well as the temporal range of the reference list, have no significant influence on articles citations. From this analysis, we distill a recipe for crafting impactful reference lists.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biological Markers
S-layer proteins
Trees (plant)
Restriction Site
Genome Assembly Sequence
Recombination, Genetic

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