How popular is your paper? An empirical study of the citation distribution
Center for BioDynamics, Center for Polymer Studies, Boston
University, Boston, MA, 02215, USA
Accepted: 12 May 1998
Published online: 15 July 1998
Numerical data for the distribution of citations are examined for: (i) papers published in 1981 in journals which are catalogued by the Institute for Scientific Information (783,339 papers) and (ii) 20 years of publications in Physical Review D, vols. 11-50 (24,296 papers). A Zipf plot of the number of citations to a given paper versus its citation rank appears to be consistent with a power-law dependence for leading rank papers, with exponent close to . This, in turn, suggests that the number of papers with x citations, N(x), has a large-x power law decay , with .
PACS: 02.50.-r – Probability theory, stochastic processes, and statistics / 01.75.+m – Science and society / 89.90.+n – Other areas of general interest to physicists
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 1998