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Citations in Software Engineering -- Paper-related, Journal-related, and Author-related Factors

by   Mika Mäntylä, et al.
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University of Oulu

Many factors could affect the number of citations to a paper. Citations have an important role in research policy and in measuring the excellence of research and researchers. This work is the first study in software engineering (SE) to assess multiple factors affecting the number of citations to SE papers. We use (a) negative binomial regression and (b) quantile regression to study arithmetic mean and median expected citations of a paper. Our dataset includes all the 25,113 papers which have been published in a set of 16 main SE journals, between 1970 and 2018. Our results indicate that studied, publication venue, author team's past citations, paper length, the number of references, and the recency of references are the most influential factors on the number of citations to SE papers. From our empirical findings, we present several implications and advice to researchers for getting higher citations on their papers, which are in addition to the obvious case of conducting high-quality technical research, e.g. (1) Aim for high-profile venues, (2) Build a high-quality author team with highly cited past papers, and (3) Aim for high-quality work that has comprehensive content (thus longer paper length and reference list).


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