IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/scient/v88y2011i2d10.1007_s11192-011-0407-9.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The skewness of science in 219 sub-fields and a number of aggregates

Author

Listed:
  • Pedro Albarrán

    (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Juan A. Crespo

    (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

  • Ignacio Ortuño

    (Universidad Carlos III)

  • Javier Ruiz-Castillo

    () (Universidad Carlos III & Research Associate of the CEPR Project SCIFI-GLOW)

Abstract

Abstract This paper studies evidence from Thomson Scientific (TS) about the citation process of 3.7 million articles published in the period 1998–2002 in 219 Web of Science (WoS) categories, or sub-fields. Reference and citation distributions have very different characteristics across sub-fields. However, when analyzed with the Characteristic Scores and Scales (CSS) technique, which is replication and scale invariant, the shape of these distributions over three broad categories of articles appears strikingly similar. Reference distributions are mildly skewed, but citation distributions with a 5-year citation window are highly skewed: the mean is 20 points above the median, while 9–10% of all articles in the upper tail account for about 44% of all citations. The aggregation of sub-fields into disciplines and fields according to several aggregation schemes preserve this feature of citation distributions. It should be noted that when we look into subsets of articles within the lower and upper tails of citation distributions the universality partially breaks down. On the other hand, for 140 of the 219 sub-fields the existence of a power law cannot be rejected. However, contrary to what is generally believed, at the sub-field level the scaling parameter is above 3.5 most of the time, and power laws are relatively small: on average, they represent 2% of all articles and account for 13.5% of all citations. The results of the aggregation into disciplines and fields reveal that power law algebra is a subtle phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Albarrán & Juan A. Crespo & Ignacio Ortuño & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2011. "The skewness of science in 219 sub-fields and a number of aggregates," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 88(2), pages 385-397, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:88:y:2011:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-011-0407-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-011-0407-9
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11192-011-0407-9
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. S. Redner, 1998. "How popular is your paper? An empirical study of the citation distribution," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 131-134, July.
    2. Pedro Albarrán & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2011. "References made and citations received by scientific articles," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 62(1), pages 40-49, January.
    3. Pedro Albarrán & Juan A. Crespo & Ignacio Ortuño & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2011. "The skewness of science in 219 sub-fields and a number of aggregates," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 88(2), pages 385-397, August.
    4. Irvine, John & Martin, Ben R., 1984. "CERN: Past performance and future prospects : II. The scientific performance of the CERN accelerators," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(5), pages 247-284, October.
    5. repec:spr:scient:v:56:y:2003:i:3:d:10.1023_a:1022378804087 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:spr:scient:v:76:y:2008:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-007-1868-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Schubert, András & Glänzel, Wolfgang, 2007. "A systematic analysis of Hirsch-type indices for journals," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 179-184.
    8. Waltman, Ludo & van Eck, Nees Jan & Noyons, Ed C.M., 2010. "A unified approach to mapping and clustering of bibliometric networks," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 629-635.
    9. Matthew O. Jackson & Brian W. Rogers, 2007. "Meeting Strangers and Friends of Friends: How Random Are Social Networks?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 890-915, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Research performance; Citation analysis; Power laws; Characteristic Scores;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • Y80 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines - - - Related Disciplines
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:88:y:2011:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-011-0407-9. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.