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Data from: Does this title bug (Hemiptera) you? How to write a title that increases your citations

Cite this dataset

Murphy, Shannon M. et al. (2019). Data from: Does this title bug (Hemiptera) you? How to write a title that increases your citations [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Scientists face an overwhelming number of peer-reviewed publications to read and must choose which to cite. Citation rate is used to measure a scientist’s productivity and often affects hiring and promotion. Thus, as the number of scientific publications grows, competition for notice increases. A publication’s title is the first step in the filtering process of a reader; the features of a title that are correlated with citation rate have not been explored for entomology journals. 2. We analyzed titles from two entomology and two ecology journals, documenting the presence of Latin names, common names, functional groups, geographic location, question marks, whether the title attempted humor or was divided into two parts, and the number of words in the title. 3. We found that using a Latin name in a title significantly decreases citations. Using Latin names in a title likely causes readers who are not immediately familiar with that name to skip the paper entirely when perusing a journal’s table of contents, whereas titles that describe a general research area, without indicating the study organism, draw a wider audience and thus more citations. 4. We found that use of functional group names or geographic location in a title increased citations in entomology journals; however, these patterns were driven by a small portion of the data. Use of common names, presence of punctuation, whether the title attempted humor, and title length had no effect on citation rates. 5. Our findings may help authors to write better titles and therefore improve readership and citation rate.

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