Greatest Hits from 2022 Behavior Analysis Journals: Future Citation Classics

This is the last in a series of posts examining 2022 articles in behavior analysis journals that made a splash by attracting unusual amounts of attention of various types. Mostly I’ve focused on the attention captured in altmetric data, which suggests a form of dissemination impact because it comes from people other than scientists (think news coverage or social media postings). Now let’s take a look at which 2022 articles were fast out of the gate in attracting traditional scholarly attention.

The table below shows the Top 10 (plus ties) 2022 articles in behavior analysis journals that had the most citations as of September 6, 2023. Note that in my tabulations I used the Dimensions Citations service; other services like Web of Science and Scopus would yield somewhat different counts.

Citations Article
26 Slocum et al. (2022). Threats to internal validity in multiple-baseline design variationsPerspectives on Behavior Science.
20 Akbari et al. (2022). Experiential avoidance in depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive related, and posttraumatic stress disorders: A comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysisJournal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
20 Beaulieu & Jimenez‐Gomez (2022). Cultural responsiveness in applied behavior analysis: Self‐assessmentJournal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
17 Mitteer et al. 2022). On the scope and characteristics of relapse when treating severe destructive behaviorJournal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
16 Heward et al. (2022). ABA from A to Z: Behavior science applied to 350 domains of socially significant behavior. Perspectives on Behavior Science.
16 Barnes‐Holmes & Harte (2022). Relational frame theory 20 years on: The Odysseus voyage and beyondJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.
15 Ciarrochi et al. (2022). Developing an item pool to assess processes of change in psychological interventions: The Process-Based Assessment Tool (PBAT). Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
11 Paulos-Guarnieri et al. (2022). Evidence and characteristics of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-based interventions for insomnia: A systematic review of randomized and non-randomized trialsJournal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
11 Sanford et al. (2022). Toward empirical process-based case conceptualization: an idionomic network examination. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
10 Simonian & Brand (2022). Assessing the efficacy of and preference for positive and corrective feedback. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
10 Larsson et al. (2022). A randomised controlled trial of brief web-based acceptance and commitment therapy on the general mental health, depression, anxiety and stress of college students. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
10 Kirby et al. (2022). Humble Behaviorism redux. Behavior and Social Issues.

A couple of comments will help to put these numbers into context. First, many scientific articles are never cited at all, so it’s always noteworthy when one attracts multiple citations soon after publication. Second, the table shows citation impact just a few  months after publication, but citations tend to build up slowly. Historically, the citation half-life (how long it takes for half of an article’s eventual citations to accumulate) of an article in behavior analysis journals has averaged around 10 to 15 years. Thus, the true citation heavyweights among 2022 articles won’t be known for quite a while, and it seems certain that the relative ranks will shuffle somewhat over time.

This makes it intriguing to examine a possible predictor of future citations, “readership” in the Mendeley reference-management tool. Mendeley readers are people who access the reference information for a given article that, presumably, they are thinking about citing. Testing this hypothesis, one study found correlations of +.30 to +.50 between Mendeley readership and citation counts. For our purposes, what’s useful about Mendeley readership is that it accumulates faster than citations. Therefore, it’s reasonable to think that short-term Mendeley readership foreshadows eventual citation impact.

The table below shows some 2022 articles not currently in the Citation Top 10 that had high Mendeley readership as of September 6, 2023. These articles may not have been much cited yet, but could have special potential for future citation impact.

Mendeley Readers Article
71 Stynes et al. (2022). Exploring the effectiveness of mindfulness-based and third wave interventions in addressing self-stigma, shame and their impacts on psychosocial functioning: A systematic review. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
68 Arnold et al. (2022). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy informed behavioral health interventions delivered by non-mental health professionals: A systematic review. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
67 Chisari et al. (2022). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for women living with Vulvodynia: A single-case experimental design study of a treatment delivered online. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
66 Knight & Samuel (2022). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy interventions in secondary schools and their impact on students’ mental health and well-being: A systematic review. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
65 Tatta et al. (2022). The ACT trained physical therapist: Psychologically flexible, resilient, and armed with evidence-based tools. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
63 Ghitimoghaddan et al. (2022). Applied behavior analysis in children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A scoping review. Perspectives on Behavior Science.
44 Kuetler & McHugh (2022). Self-compassion buffers the effects of perfectionistic self-presentation on social media on wellbeing. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
44 Lee et al. (2022). Impact of challenging behavior online modules on Korean parents of children with developmental disabilities: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.
42 Akbari et al. (2022). The current status of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in Iran: A systematic narrative review. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.
39 Daks et al. (2022). The impact of psychological flexibility on family dynamics amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: A longitudinal perspective. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.

What leaps out in these two tables is where the articles were published, with the most, by far, originating in Journal of Contextual Behavior Science (JCBS). Among the 11 most-cited articles, 6 (55%) were from JCBS. Among the 12 articles with high future citation potential (based on Mendeley readership), 10 (83%) came from JCBS. To flesh things out, I checked which behavior analysis journals accounted for the most articles among the Top 50 (plus ties) most cited. As you can see below, JCBS dominates here as well. A key to journal name abbreviations is at the end of this post.

Historically, two journals were considered foundational in our discipline. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB) was called the flagship publication of basic research, and Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis was called the flagship publication of applied research. Together they were viewed as the heavy hitters, with all other journals in also-ran status. I’m not sure such simple labels apply any more. As I’ve shown, JBCS is now a citation force to be reckoned with, and both Perspectives on Behavior Science and Behavior Analysis in Practice placed more articles in the Top 50 list than JEAB.

Citations are a measure of scholarly impact, but in a previous post I showed that JCBS also does well on measures of dissemination impact. It’s interesting to speculate on the basis for that journal’s success. It could result from the popularity of the journal’s theoretical framework, Relational Frame Theory, and/or its primary type of intervention (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). Or it could be simply that the journal focuses on topics that matter to a lot of people. Without any firm supporting evidence, I suspect it’s more the latter. Check out the article titles in the two tables: Depression, perfectionism, anxiety, insomnia, climate change… These are topics with huge ready-made audiences who want solutions to particular problems more than they care what those solutions specifically are. People who care about the dissemination and scholarly acceptance of behavior analysis should take note.

Key to journal names in pie chart:

  • JCBS = Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science
  • JABA = Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis
  • BAP = behavior Analysis in Practice
  • POBS = Perspectives on Behavior Science
  • JEAB = Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
  • BI = Behavioral Interventions
  • JOBM = Journal of Organizational Behavior Management
  • BSI = Behavior and Social Issues
  • BM = Behavior Modification
  • JOBE = Journal of Behavioral education