Disseminating high-impact scholarship is a critical task for many social work academics. Although the factors that contribute to this process have been investigated in other disciplines, there is a paucity of equivalent research in social work. This longitudinal study addresses this gap in the literature by examining the effects of coauthorship, database indexing, and article length on subsequent citation counts, a widely used measure of scholarly impact. Based upon the extant research, we hypothesized that all three factors would be associated with a greater number of citations 5 years after publication.
The sample consisted of 3,066 articles, published inclusively from 2005 to 2009 in 18 disciplinary social work journals. Multilevel negative binomial regression was used to model the effects of each factor on 5-year citation counts.
The findings generally supported the hypotheses. Articles were more likely to be cited in subsequent scholarship if they were (a) written by 3 or more authors, (b) retrievable from more databases, and (c) longer.
The results raise the possibility that authors interested in high-impact scholarship might benefit from working in authorship teams to create longer papers containing more original ideas, and then submitting the resulting manuscripts to journals that are indexed in multiple electronic databases.