nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2014‒03‒08
one paper chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Power laws in citation distributions: Evidence from Scopus By Michał Brzeziński

  1. By: Michał Brzeziński (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw)
    Abstract: Modeling distributions of citations to scientific papers is crucial for understanding how science develops. However, there is a considerable empirical controversy on which statistical model fits the citation distributions best. This paper is concerned with rigorous empirical detection of power-law behaviour in the distribution of citations received by the most highly cited scientific papers. We have used a large, novel data set on citations to scientific papers published between 1998 and 2002 drawn from Scopus. The power-law model is compared with a number of alternative models using a likelihood ratio test. We have found that the power-law hypothesis is rejected for around half of the Scopus fields of science. For these fields of science, the Yule, power-law with exponential cut-off and log-normal distributions seem to fit the data better than the pure power-law model. On the other hand, when the power-law hypothesis is not rejected, it is usually empirically indistinguishable from most of the alternative models.
    Keywords: power law, Pareto model, citation distribution, bibliometrics, scientometrics, Scopus, model selection
    JEL: A12 C46 C52
    Date: 2014

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