The distribution of references in scientific papers: An analysis of the IMRaD structure

Abstract : The organization of scientific articles typically follows a standardized pattern, the well-known IMRaD structure (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion). Using the PLOS series of journals as a case study, this paper looks at how the bibliographic references are distributed along the different sections of papers. We use the section titles of the articles to categorize the sections matching the IMRaD structure. We then identify the variations in the basic IMRaD structure of the different PLOS journals. The results show that, though dominant, the IMRaD structure often changes in some journals and these differences must be taken into account in order to compare the distribution of references along the text using an invariant measure, here the number of sentences in the texts. We examine the different distributions of the references in the articles in different journals and show that these distributions are relatively stable and maybe even invariant when taking into account the inversions of sections identified in some journals.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01941188
Contributor : Marc Bertin <>
Submitted on : Friday, November 30, 2018 - 6:00:08 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 14, 2019 - 2:18:05 PM

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Marc Bertin, Iana Atanassova, Vincent Larivière, Yves Gingras. The distribution of references in scientific papers: An analysis of the IMRaD structure. 14th International Conference of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics, International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics, Jul 2013, Vienne, Austria. pp.591-603. ⟨hal-01941188⟩

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