Does your surname affect the citability of your publications?
Prior investigations have offered contrasting results on a troubling question: whether the alphabetical ordering of bylines confers citation advantages on those authors whose surnames put them first in the list. The previous studies analyzed the surname effect at publication level, i.e. whether papers with the first author early in the alphabet trigger more citations than papers with a first author late in the alphabet. We adopt instead a different approach, by analyzing the surname effect on citability at the individual level, i.e. whether authors with alphabetically earlier surnames result as being more cited. Examining the question at both the overall and discipline levels, the analysis finds no evidence whatsoever that alphabetically earlier surnames gain advantage. The same lack of evidence occurs for the subpopulation of scientists with very high publication rates, where alphabetical advantage might gain more ground. The field of observation consists of 14,467 scientists in the sciences.READ FULL TEXT