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Unraveling the dynamics of growth, aging and inflation for citations to scientific articles from specific research fields


  • Higham, K.W.
  • Governale, M.
  • Jaffe, A.B.
  • Zülicke, U.


We analyze the time evolution of citations acquired by articles from journals of the American Physical Society (PRA, PRB, PRC, PRD, PRE and PRL). The observed change over time in the number of papers published in each journal is considered an exogenously caused variation in citability that is accounted for by a normalization. The appropriately inflation-adjusted citation rates are found to be separable into a preferential-attachment-type growth kernel and a purely obsolescence-related (i.e., monotonously decreasing as a function of time since publication) aging function. Variations in the empirically extracted parameters of the growth kernels and aging functions associated with different journals point to research-field-specific characteristics of citation intensity and knowledge flow. Comparison with analogous results for the citation dynamics of technology-disaggregated cohorts of patents provides deeper insight into the basic principles of information propagation as indicated by citing behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Higham, K.W. & Governale, M. & Jaffe, A.B. & Zülicke, U., 2017. "Unraveling the dynamics of growth, aging and inflation for citations to scientific articles from specific research fields," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 1190-1200.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:infome:v:11:y:2017:i:4:p:1190-1200
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2017.10.004

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