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A Single Punctuation Mark Has Been Skewing Our Entire System of Scientific Ranking


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The offending piece of punctuation.

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong and the University of Wollongong in Australia has found that academic papers with hyphens in their titles are counted less frequently in citation-tallying datasets than papers with titles lacking hyphens.

Credit: Dimitris66/iStock

A study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong and the University of Wollongong in Australia has determined that academic papers with hyphens in their titles are counted less frequently in citation-tallying datasets, which has been distorting the estimated impact of published academic research.

The researchers analyzed the Scopus and Web of Science databases using metamorphic testing to detect defects in the databases' software robustness.

Based on the results of the research, the researchers wrote, "A plausible reason for the erroneous inputs is that when authors cite a paper with hyphens in the title, they may overlook some of the hyphens. As a result, citation databases may not be able to match it with the original paper and, hence, the original's citation count is not increased."

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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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