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      How Popular is Your Paper? An Empirical Study of the Citation Distribution

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          Abstract

          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 -1/2. This, in turn, suggests that the number of papers with x citations, N(x), has a large-x power law decay N(x)~x^{-alpha}, with alpha approximately equal to 3.

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          Journal
          15 April 1998
          1998-04-17
          Article
          10.1007/s100510050359
          cond-mat/9804163
          Custom metadata
          Eur.Phys.J.B4:131-134,1998
          4 pages, 4 figures, 1 table, revtex 2 column format. A small error in the description of one of the data sets corrected, no change in results
          cond-mat.stat-mech

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