Citation Distributions in High Energy Physics

Ronald Rousseau ronald.rousseau at KH.KHBO.BE
Thu Nov 21 02:03:11 EST 2002

And not a single reference to a LIS-journal or person, as if nothing (of any
significance) has ever been written in 'our' field.

Ronald Rousseau

> There is a significant new paper filed earlier this month at the physics
> e-
> print archive ( by S. Lehmann et al. dealing with the
> "Citation
> distributions in high-energy physics" based on data from the SPIRES
> database.
> They show that theory, experiment and phenomenology have nearly
> identical
> distributions within high-energy physics. The data are qualitatively
> similar
> to the ISI data for all of science shown by S. Redner (1998), but the
> interpretations are perhaps more insightful.
> {S. Redner. How popular is your paper? an emperical study of the
> citation
> distribution. European Physics Journal B, 4:131-4, 1998.}
> S. Lehmann et al. indicate that a single power-law distribution does not
> fit
> the data but a double power-law distribution does, composed of one
> dominated
> by no-longer cited papers and a second distribution dominated by still
> actively cited papers.  Additionally they indicate that the most highly
> cited
> papers receive fewer than expected citations because they reach
> canonical
> status (a point that others have made).
> The most quotable quote is "The picture which emerges is thus a small
> number
> of interesting and significant papers swimming in a sea of "dead"
> papers."
> -- -- John Suppe,
> Department of Geosciences
> Guyot Hall
> Princeton University
> Princeton NJ 08544-1003
> (609) 258-4119 office
> (609) 258-1515 lab
> (609) 258-1274 fax
> suppe at

Ronald Rousseau
International Program Chair, 9th ISSI Conference - Beijing
KHBO - Industrial Sciences and Technology
Zeedijk 101    B-8400  Oostende   Belgium
Honorary Professor Henan Normal University (Xinxiang, China)
E-mail: ronald.rousseau at
web page:

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