Do research articles with more readable abstracts receive higher online attention? Evidence from Science

Tan Jin, Huiqiong Duan, Xiaofei Lu, Jing Ni, Kai Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The value of scientific research is manifested in its impact in the scientific community as well as among the general public. Given the importance of abstracts in determining whether research articles (RAs) may be retrieved and read, recent research is paying attention to the effect of abstract readability on the scientific impact of RAs. However, to date little research has looked into the effect of abstract readability on the impact of RAs among the general public. To address this gap, this study reports on an investigation into the relationship between abstract readability and online attention received by RAs. Our dataset consisted of the abstracts of 550 RAs from 11 disciplines published in Science in 2012 and 2018. Thirty-nine lexical and syntactic complexity indices were employed to measure the readability of the abstracts, and the Altmetric attention scores of the RAs were used to measure the online attention they received. Results showed that abstract readability is significantly related to the online attention RAs receive, and that this relationship is significantly affected by discipline and publication time. Our findings have useful implications for making RA abstracts accessible to the general public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8471-8490
Number of pages20
JournalScientometrics
Volume126
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

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