How important is the size of a reprint order?
Hopewell S., Clarke M.
OBJECTIVES: This study aims to assess the impact of articles with very high reprint orders ("high-reprint articles") by measuring their citation in the subsequent literature as compared with a control group of articles. METHODS: The twenty-one articles (published in the Lancet in 1998) with reprint orders of over 10,000 were matched with a control set of twenty-one articles with smaller reprint orders. The Science Citation Index was used to obtain the number of citations for each of the forty-two articles. RESULTS: The twenty-one high-reprint articles were cited 2,548 times; the mean number of citations was 121 (range, 3 to 499 citations per article). Five of the twenty-one high-reprint articles had more than 200 citations, but seven (33%) were cited twenty-five times or fewer. The twenty-one control articles were cited 986 times; the mean number of citations was forty-seven (range, 1 to 165). Fifteen (71%) of the twenty-one control articles were cited twenty-five times or fewer. Thirteen of the high-reprint articles were reports of randomized trials with a mean of 163 citations. In the control articles, six were reports of randomized trials with a mean of eighty-eight citations. CONCLUSIONS: Articles with a high-reprint order were cited more frequently than other articles. However, some high-reprint articles were cited infrequently. If the size of a reprint order is related to the importance of an article, those articles with very high reprint orders may, therefore, be perceived as more important. Further research is needed to explore other aspects of the relative importance and impact of high-reprint articles.