Number and quality of diagrams in scholarly publications is associated with number of citations

04/30/2021 ∙ by Guy Clarke Marshall, et al. ∙ 0

Diagrams are often used in scholarly communication. We analyse a corpus of diagrams found in scholarly computational linguistics conference proceedings (ACL 2017), and find inclusion of a system diagram to be correlated with higher numbers of citations after 3 years. Inclusion of over three diagrams in this 8-page limit conference was found to correlate with a lower citation count. Focusing on neural network system diagrams, we find a correlation between highly cited papers and "good diagramming practice" quantified by level of compliance with a set of diagramming guidelines. Two diagram classification types (one visually based, one mental model based) were not found to correlate with number of citations, but enabled quantification of heterogeneity in those dimensions. Exploring scholarly paper-writing guides, we find diagrams to be a neglected media. This study suggests that diagrams may be a useful source of quality data for predicting citations, and that "graphicacy" is a key skill for scholars with insufficient support at present.

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