Science and Facebook: the same popularity law!

Authors : Zoltán Néda, Levente Varga, Tamás S. Biró

The distribution of scientific citations for publications selected with different rules (author, topic, institution, country, journal, etc.) collapse on a single curve if one plots the citations relative to their mean value.

We find that the distribution of shares for the Facebook posts re-scale in the same manner to the very same curve with scientific citations. This finding suggests that citations are subjected to the same growth mechanism with Facebook popularity measures, being influenced by a statistically similar social environment and selection mechanism.

In a simple master-equation approach the exponential growth of the number of publications and a preferential selection mechanism leads to a Tsallis-Pareto distribution offering an excellent description for the observed statistics.

Based on our model and on the data derived from PubMed we predict that according to the present trend the average citations per scientific publications exponentially relaxes to about 4.


Open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals

Author : Jeff C. Clements

The accumulation of evidence that open access publishing can increase citation rates highlights one benefit of universal accessibility to scholarly works. However, studies investigating the effect of open access publishing on citations are typically conducted across a wide variety of journals and disciplines, introducing a number of potential issues and limiting their utility for specific disciplines.

Here, I used three primary marine ecology journals with an open access option as a “microcosm” of scientific publishing to determine whether or not open access articles received more citations than non-open access articles during the same time frame, controlling for self-citations, article type, and journal impact factor.

I also tested for the effects of time since publication and the number of authors. Citations were positively correlated with time since publication and differed across the three journals. In addition, open access articles received significantly more citations than non-open access articles.

Self-citations increased with author number and were affected by a complex interaction between open access, journal, and time since publication. This study demonstrates that open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals, although the causal factors driving this trend are unknown.

URL : Open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals


Revisiting an open access monograph experiment: measuring citations and tweets 5 years later

Author : Ronald Snijder

An experiment run in 2009 could not assess whether making monographs available in open access enhanced scholarly impact. This paper revisits the experiment, drawing on additional citation data and tweets. It attempts to answer the following research question: does open access have a positive influence on the number of citations and tweets a monograph receives, taking into account the influence of scholarly field and language?

The correlation between monograph citations and tweets is also investigated. The number of citations and tweets measured in 2014 reveal a slight open access advantage, but the influence of language or subject should also be taken into account. However, Twitter usage and citation behaviour hardly overlap.

URL : Revisiting an open access monograph experiment

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Research impact of paywalled versus open access papers

Authors : Éric Archambault, Grégoire Côté, Brooke Struck, Matthieu Voorons

This note presents data from the 1science oaIndx on the average of relative citations (ARC) for 3.3 million papers published from 2007 to 2009 and indexed in the Web of Science (WoS).

These data show a decidedly large citation advantage for open access (OA) papers, despite them suffering from a lag in availability compared to paywalled papers.


A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions

Authors : Vincent Larivière, Véronique Kiermer, Catriona J. MacCallum, Marcia McNutt, Mark Patterson, Bernd Pulverer, Sowmya Swaminathan, Stuart Taylor, Stephen Curry

Although the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is widely acknowledged to be a poor indicator of the quality of individual papers, it is used routinely to evaluate research and researchers. Here, we present a simple method for generating the citation distributions that underlie JIFs.

Application of this straightforward protocol reveals the full extent of the skew of distributions and variation in citations received by published papers that is characteristic of all scientific journals.

Although there are differences among journals across the spectrum of JIFs, the citation distributions overlap extensively, demonstrating that the citation performance of individual papers cannot be inferred from the JIF.

We propose that this methodology be adopted by all journals as a move to greater transparency, one that should help to refocus attention on individual pieces of work and counter the inappropriate usage of JIFs during the process of research assessment.

URL : A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions

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Men set their own cites high: Gender and self-citation across fields and over time

Authors : Molly M. King, Carl T. Bergstrom, Shelley J. Correll, Jennifer Jacquet, Jevin D. West

How common is self-citation in scholarly publication and does the practice vary by gender? Using novel methods and a dataset of 1.5 million research papers in the scholarly database JSTOR published between 1779-2011, we find that nearly 10% of references are self-citations by a paper’s authors.

We further find that over the years between 1779-2011, men cite their own papers 56% more than women do. In the last two decades of our data, men self-cite 70% more than women. Women are also more than ten percentage points more likely than men to not cite their own previous work at all.

Despite increased representation of women in academia, this gender gap in self-citation rates has remained stable over the last 50 years. We break down self-citation patterns by academic field and number of authors, and comment on potential mechanisms behind these observations.

These findings have important implications for scholarly visibility and likely consequences for academic careers.


Examining the Impact of the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy on the Citation Rates of Journal Articles


To examine whether National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded articles that were archived in PubMed Central (PMC) after the release of the 2008 NIH Public Access Policy show greater scholarly impact than comparable articles not archived in PMC.


A list of journals across several subject areas was developed from which to collect article citation data. Citation information and cited reference counts of the articles published in 2006 and 2009 from 122 journals were obtained from the Scopus database. The articles were separated into categories of NIH funded, non-NIH funded and whether they were deposited in PubMed Central. An analysis of citation data across a five-year timespan was performed on this set of articles.


A total of 45,716 articles were examined, including 7,960 with NIH-funding. An analysis of the number of times these articles were cited found that NIH-funded 2006 articles in PMC were not cited significantly more than NIH-funded non-PMC articles. However, 2009 NIH funded articles in PMC were cited 26% more than 2009 NIH funded articles not in PMC, 5 years after publication. This result is highly significant even after controlling for journal (as a proxy of article quality and topic).


Our analysis suggests that factors occurring between 2006 and 2009 produced a subsequent boost in scholarly impact of PubMed Central. The 2008 Public Access Policy is likely to be one such factor, but others may have contributed as well (e.g., growing size and visibility of PMC, increasing availability of full-text linkouts from PubMed, and indexing of PMC articles by Google Scholar).

URL : Examining the Impact of the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy on the Citation Rates of Journal Articles

DOI : 10.1371/journal.pone.0139951