Vol. 141 No. 0304 (2011)
Lost in translation: the impact of publication language on citation frequency in the scientific dental literature
- D Poomkottayil
- MM Bornstein
- P Sendi
PRINCIPLES: Citation metrics are commonly used as a proxy for scientific merit and relevance. Papers published in English, however, may exhibit a higher citation frequency than research articles published in other languages, though this issue has not yet been investigated from a Swiss perspective where English is not the native language.
METHODS: To assess the impact of publication language on citation frequency we focused on oral surgery papers indexed in PubMed MEDLINE that were published by Swiss Dental Schools between 2002 and 2007. Citation frequency of research papers was extracted from the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and Google Scholar database. An univariate and multivariate logistic regression model was used to assess the impact of publication language (English versus German/French) on citation frequency, adjusted for journal impact factor, number of authors and research topic.
RESULTS: Papers published in English showed a 6 (ISI database) and 7 (Google Scholar) times higher odds for being cited than research articles published in German or French.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that publication language substantially influences the citation frequency of a research paper. Researchers should publish their work in English to render them accessible to the international scientific community.
- Callaham M, Wears RL, Weber E. Journal prestige, publication bias, and other characteristics associated with citation of published studies in peer-reviewed journals. JAMA. 2002:2847–50.
- Filion KB, Pless IB. Factors related to the frequency of citation of epidemiologic publications. Epidemiol Perspect Innov; 2008:3.
- Leimu R, Koricheva J.What determines the citation frequency of ecological papers? Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 2005;20(1):28–32.
- Bhandari M, Busse J, Devereaux PJ, Montori VM, Swiontkowski M, Tornetta Iii P, et al. Factors associated with citation rates in the orthopedic literature. Can J Surg. 2007:119–23.
- Winkmann G, Schlutius S, Schweim HG. Publication languages of Impact Factor journals and of medical bibliographic databanks. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2002:131–7.
- Bakewell D.Publish in English, or perish? Nature. 1992;356:648.
- Borsuk R, Budden A, Leimu R, Aarssen L, Lortie C.The influence of author gender, national language and number of authors on citation rate in ecology. The Open Ecology Journal. 2009;2(1):25–8.
- Kostoff R.The difference between highly and poorly cited medical articles in the journal Lancet. Scientometrics. 2007;72(3):513–20.
- Callaham M, Weber E, Wears R. Citation characteristics of research published in Emergency Medicine versus other scientific journals. Ann Emerg Med. 2001:513–7.
- Kulkarni AV, Aziz B, Shams I, Busse JW. Comparisons of Citations in Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar for Articles Published in General Medical Journals. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association; 2009:1092–6.
- Noruzi A.Google Scholar: The new generation of citation indexes. LIBRI-COPENHAGEN-. 2005;55(4):170.
- Winkmann G, Schlutius S, Schweim HG. Citation rates of medical German-language journals in English-language papers – do they correlate with the impact factor, and who cites? (reprint). Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2002:72–8.
- Chew M, Villanueva EV, Van Der Weyden MB. Life and times of the impact factor: retrospective analysis of trends for seven medical journals (1994–2005) and their Editors’ views. J R Soc Med. 2007:142–50.