What makes a scientific article influential? The case of demographers

Hendrik P. Van Dalen*, Kène Henkens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we examine, by means of a citation analysis, which factors influence the impact of articles published in demography journals between 1990 and 1992. Several quantifiable characteristics of the articles (characteristics with respect to authors, visibility, content and journals) are strongly related to their subsequent impact in the social sciences. Articles are most frequently cited when they deal with empirical, ahistorical research focusing on populations in the developed world, when they are prominently placed in a journal issue, when they are written in English and when they appear in core demography journals. Furthermore, although eminent scholars are likely to be cited on the basis of their reputation, the effect of reputation appears to be small in demography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-482
Number of pages28
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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