Dissemination of novel biostatistics methods: Impact of programming code availability and other characteristics on article citations

Amy E. Wahlquist, Lutfiyya NaQiyba Muhammad, Teri Lynn Herbert, Viswanathan Ramakrishnan, Paul J. Nietert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background As statisticians develop new methodological approaches, there are many factors that influence whether others will utilize their work. This paper is a bibliometric study that identifies and quantifies associations between characteristics of new biostatistics methods and their citation counts. Of primary interest was the association between numbers of citations and whether software code was available to the reader. Methods Statistics journal articles published in 2010 from 35 statistical journals were reviewed by two biostatisticians. Generalized linear mixed models were used to determine which characteristics (author, article, and journal) were independently associated with citation counts (as of April 1, 2017) in other peer-reviewed articles. Results Of 722 articles reviewed, 428 were classified as new biostatistics methods. In a multivariable model, for articles that were not freely accessible on the journal’s website, having code available appeared to offer no boost to the number of citations (adjusted rate ratio = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.74 to 1.24, p = 0.74); however, for articles that were freely accessible on the journal’s website, having code available was associated with a 2-fold increase in the number of citations (adjusted rate ratio = 2.01, 95% CI = 1.30 to 3.10, p = 0.002). Higher citation rates were also associated with higher numbers of references, longer articles, SCImago Journal Rank indicator (SJR), and total numbers of publications among authors, with the strongest impact on citation rates coming from SJR (rate ratio = 1.21 for a 1-unit increase in SJR; 95% CI = 1.11 to 1.32). Conclusion These analyses shed new insight into factors associated with citation rates of articles on new biostatistical methods. Making computer code available to readers is a goal worth striving for that may enhance biostatistics knowledge translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0201590
JournalPloS one
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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