Is this post about killer bees? No! It’s about how a paper’s title affects its subsequent number of citations. In a recent article, we investigated this topic by analyzing 5941 papers published in the journal Biological Conservation from 1968 to 2012.
We found that papers with the greatest geographic or taxonomic breadth in their titles were cited more frequently than more narrowly focused papers. Also, titles phrased as questions and with shorter titles had slightly higher numbers of citations. Titles aside, the most highly cited papers are review papers, and those that advance the science and are useful to readers.
The take home message: Focus on doing good science and writing review articles.