May 25, 2022

Bibliometric Analysis: "Heading for Success: or How Not to Title Your Paper"

This article appears in the September 2011 issue of Research Trends, published by Scopus (Elsevier).

Title: “Heading for Success: or How Not to Title Your Paper”
Author: Sarah Huggett

From the Introduction:

The title of a paper acts as a gateway to its content. It’s the first thing potential readers of the paper see, before deciding to move on to the abstract or full text. As academic authors want to maximize the readership of their papers it is unsurprising that they usually take a lot of care in choosing an appropriate title. But what makes a title draw in citations?

Is longer better?

Bibliometric analyses can be used to illuminate the influence of titles on citations. Jamali and Nikzad, for example, found differences between the citation rates of articles with different types of titles. In particular, they found that articles with a question mark or colon in their title tend to be cited less. The authors noted that “no significant correlation was found between title length and citations”, a result conflicting with another study by Habibzadeh and Yadollahie finding that “longer titles seem to be associated with higher citation rates”.

Read the Complete Article


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.