In the middle of the last century (roughly from the 20s-70s) the passive voice dominated scientific writing; or should it be said that scientific writing was dominated by the passive voice? 

Nowadays, there is pushback against the passive voice with (noted scientists like) Robert May [saying](http://www.tsn.org.uk/TSNnewsite/news/writing%20styles2.html) that "these days, use of the passive voice in a research paper is, more often than not, the hallmark of second rate work." [Moore (2000)](http://csermelyblog.tehetsegpont.hu/sites/default/files/Watson-Crick-Avery.pdf) even argues (from anecdotal evidence) that your scientific work might have less impact if you rely on the passive voice (among other factors of poor rhetoric).

However, the passive voice is still preferred (or at least used) by many scientists. This is occasionally explained by the assertion that the passive voice is more objective or seems more authoritative. Is there any empirical literature on this?

**Does a text appear more objective or authoritative if it is written in the passive voice?** Does it appear more 'scientific'? Does it affect the impact of the work (or proxies like citation count)? Is this effect context (say, science vs. law vs. politics, etc) dependent?