Few Journal Article Organizational Structure Characteristics Affect Article Citation Rate: A Look at Agricultural Economics Articles Using Regression Analysis

  •  Joe Parcell    
  •  Glynn Tonsor    
  •  Jason Franken    


When reporting research findings, a journal article’s organizational structure influences whether others can easily assess the published research’s procedures, interpret the results, and synthesize the implications. Organizational structure characteristics include sufficiently explained variables, data format, number of exhibits, and presence of an appendix. This study endeavors to empirically test whether journal article organizational structure influences citation rates. Citations are used for ranking academic fields, evaluating faculty for promotion, and assessing faculty performance for merit-based salary increases. Journal editors desire higher citation rates to enhance journal exposure, and faculty target publishing in journals with higher impact factors, which reflect citation rates. To assess whether journal article organization affects citation rates, this study uses data from a survey of 68 Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics articles published between 1994 and 1998, and it uses citation rates between February 2010 and the publication date as the dependent variable. These articles were selected because they used regression methods and had all information necessary for this analysis. Using Tobit and truncated ordinary least squares regressions, this study evaluated the marginal effects of variables, including organizational structure characteristics, influencing citation rates. The results indicated a lack of statistical significance for most organizational structure variables affecting citation rates. The use of panel data use and presence of an appendix were the two only organizational structure variables that had significant effects on journal article organizational structure. They had respective positive and negative effects. Thus, little evidence supports that a professional impact, measured as citations, will result from at least this particular journal making efforts to improve article format structure. The current study may motivate future research that replicates the methods and examines other journals and article characteristics.

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