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I just had an article published and it was the first article in that issue of the journal. At first, I wondered if that had any significance. I had an article given the cover of a journal before but this specific journal does not have "cover articles." However, clearly only one can be first.

I did a little searching and I found this paper named "Do First-Articles in a Journal Issue Get More Cited?". In this (very short) paper, they claim that articles with higher importance, more creativity, etc. are generally chosen to be earlier in the journal.

My question is, should I call this out on my CV or not? I worry that, at some point, highlighting things like this starts to look a little desperate.

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    In a lot of journals I follow, the area is so wide there might be only one article per issue I actually care about. To me, it makes it hard to compare between articles within an issue if the scope is wide Jun 21 at 16:35
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    @AzorAhai-him- I also had in mind while writing my answer journals that have enough different "themes" with articles published under those headings that there is frequently only one or two articles per theme. E.g., the current issue of JNeuroscience: jneurosci.org/content/42/24?current-issue=y the first research article comes first because it's the only "cellular/molecular" paper in the whole issue and because "cellular/molecular" is always the first section.
    – Bryan Krause
    Jun 21 at 16:40
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    A quick sanity check you could do, is to look at the other papers in the same issue. The respective dates of acceptance should stated somewhere. If they are roughly chronological, than the order might simply be the one in which they were ready for print. This would also be a possible explanation of the findings in your reference, as on average, articles which have been around longer will naturally have more citations.
    – mlk
    Jun 22 at 11:12
  • For many journals I read (say Applied Physics Letters) the content is arranged by topic area, and the order of topics is consistent from issue to issue. Being the first article is a byproduct of that ordering, not any inherent quality of the article.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 23 at 14:00

1 Answer 1

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No, I would not highlight this.

It's not typical to do, and there's no guarantee that the journal did actually intentionally set your article first - it seems to me like it would be embarrassing to claim an award not given.

As far as cover articles, maybe it's different in your field, but in mine the paper on the cover is usually selected because it had a particularly nice picture to go with it - that might be something to be proud of by itself, but doesn't necessarily mean the work is more influential or important than other articles in the journal, it's just that some studies make good pictures and others don't.

Congrats on your paper!

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  • "It's not typical to do" says it all. Thanks for this.
    – earthling
    Jun 23 at 3:23

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