Journal of Scientometric Research,2018,7,3,194-200.
This paper examines how some linguistic and extra-linguistic features of scientific letters published in well-reputed journals in the field of astrophysics (types and length of titles, as well as the relationship between title length and authorship patterns and collaboration practices) have changed over time. Our main results may be summarized as follows: 1) simple and nominal titles significantly outweigh compound, question and verbal titles, although the latter are on the rise; 2) the colon is the most frequently used punctuation mark; 3) the frequency of appearance of colons, full stops and commas increases over time; 4) there is a steady upward trend in longer titles, number of authors and countries; 5) Although over time authors contribute fewer words and countries involved in the research provide more words to the writing of scientific letter titles, authorship variations seem to be more relevant in relationship to the evolution of title length, i.e. title length is more author-driven than country-driven. A final diachronic cross-journal analysis confirms the co-existence of two different collaboration scenarios as already disclosed in a previous synchronic study on the same topic.
Titles of Scientific Letters in Astrophysics (2000- 2015): A Diachronic Study of Type Distribution and the Relationship Between Title Length and Collaboration Issues