Stephen J Bensman notsjb at LSU.EDU
Sat Jan 27 09:30:29 EST 2007

It is well known that review articles summarizing research receive on the
average more citations than other types of articles.  Your question is
considered in the book below:

Narin, F.  (1976).  Evaluative bibliometrics: The use of publication and
citation analysis in the evaluation of scientific activity.  Cherry Hill,
NJ: Computer Horizons, Inc.

Here Nariin write:

CHI (Narin, 1976, pp. 183-219) developed its “influence” method in a report
prepared for the National Science Foundation.  In this report it criticized
Garfield’s impact factor as suffering from three basic faults (p. 184).
First, although the impact factor corrects for journal size, it does not
correct for average length of articles, and this caused journals, which
published longer articles such as review journals, to have higher impact

My guess is that you would find no or low correlation between length of
references and number of citations, but, if you used a chi-squared test of
independence,  you a strong positive association with review articles
dominant in the high reference/high citation cell.  As usual,It would be
best to do this test with well-defined subject sets than globally to avoid
the influence of exogenous subject variables.  However, Narin seems to have
been of a different opinion in respect to correlation, so you might look at
what he did.


Ronald Rousseau <ronald.rousseau at KHBO.BE>> on 01/27/2007
07:33:34 AM

Please respond to ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics
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Sent by:    ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics
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cc:     (bcc: Stephen J Bensman/notsjb/LSU)

Subject:    [SIGMETRICS] question

Dear colleagues,

Is there a positive correlation between the length of a reference list of a
publication and the number of citations received? Is this true (or not) in
general, i.e. considering all types of publication? And what if one only
considers 'normal articles', this is when reviews and letters (and other
communications) are not taken into account?

Can someone point me to a reference?



Ronald Rousseau
KHBO (Association K.U.Leuven)- Industrial Sciences and Technology
Zeedijk 101    B-8400  Oostende   Belgium
Guest Professor at the Antwerp University School for Library and
   Science (UA - IBW)
E-mail: ronald.rousseau at
web page:

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