Are citations of scientific papers a case of nonextensivity?
Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Fisicas, Rua Xavier Sigaud 150,
22290-180 Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Brazil
Published online: 15 February 2000
The distribution N(x) of citations of scientific papers has recently been illustrated (on ISI and PRE data sets) and analyzed by Redner (Eur. Phys. J. B 4, 131 (1998)). To fit the data, a stretched exponential () has been used with only partial success. The success is not complete because the data exhibit, for large citation count x, a power law (roughly for the ISI data), which, clearly, the stretched exponential does not reproduce. This fact is then attributed to a possibly different nature of rarely cited and largely cited papers. We show here that, within a nonextensive thermostatistical formalism, the same data can be quite satisfactorily fitted with a single curve (namely, for the available values of x. This is consistent with the connection recently established by Denisov (Phys. Lett. A 235, 447 (1997)) between this nonextensive formalism and the Zipf-Mandelbrot law. What the present analysis ultimately suggests is that, in contrast to Redner's conclusion, the phenomenon might essentially be one and the same along the entire range of the citation number x.
PACS: 02.50.-r – Probability theory, stochastic processes, and statistics / 01.75.+m – Science and society / 89.90.+n – Other topics of general interest to physicists (restricted to new topics in section 89)
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2000