'Form' and 'Function' in the Social Sciences
26 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 7, 2018
Ideas proposed in scientific journal articles have the potential to touch many areas of our lives in significant ways. Here, we examine whether there are frictions in the scientific knowledge dissemination process. In particular, we test whether something as seemingly frivolous as the ease with which an article can be read affects the degree to which an article reaches its intended audience. Consistent with the presence of frictions, we find that when applying a copy-editing software that counts the pervasiveness of the most important “writing faults” to journal articles published from 2005 through 2014, articles with one more writing fault per one hundred words receive 7% fewer citations.
Keywords: Scientific Knowledge Dissemination, Readability
JEL Classification: A10, M30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation