The Quest for Citations: Drivers of Article Impact
Why do some articles become building blocks for future scholars, while many others remain unnoticed? We aim to answer this question by contrasting, synthesizing and simultaneously testing three scientometric perspectives – universalism, social constructivism and presentation – on the influence of article and author characteristics on article citations. To do so, we study all articles published in a sample of five major journals in marketing from 1990 to 2002 that are central to the discipline. We count the number of citations each of these articles has received and regress this count on an extensive set of characteristics of the article (i.e. article quality, article domain, title length, the use of attention grabbers and expositional clarity), and the author (i.e. author visibility and author personal promotion). We find that the number of citations an article in the marketing discipline receives, depends upon “what one says” (quality and domain), on “who says it” (author visibility and personal promotion) and not so much on “how one says it” (title length, the use of attention grabbers, and expositional clarity). Our insights contribute to the marketing literature and are relevant to scientific stakeholders, such as the management of scientific journals and individual academic scholars, as they strive to maximize citations. They are also relevant to marketing practitioners. They inform practitioners on characteristics of the academic journals in marketing and their relevance to decisions they face. On the other hand, they also raise challenges towards making our journals accessible and relevant to marketing practitioners: (1) authors visible to academics are not necessarily visible to practitioners; (2) the readability of an article may hurt academic credibility and impact, while it may be instrumental in influencing practitioners; (3) it remains questionable whether articles that academics assess to be of high quality are also managerially relevant.
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