Europhys. Lett.
Volume 69, Number 2, January 2005
Page(s) 298 - 303
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 22 December 2004
Europhys. Lett., 69 (2), pp. 298-303 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10331-2

Life, death and preferential attachment

S. Lehmann1, A. D. Jackson2 and B. Lautrup2

1  Informatics and Mathematical Modeling, Technical University of Denmark Building 321 - DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark
2  The Niels Bohr Institute - Blegdamsvej 17, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

received 17 September 2004; accepted 10 November 2004
published online 22 December 2004

Scientific communities are characterized by strong stratification. The highly skewed frequency distribution of citations of published scientific papers suggests a relatively small number of active, cited papers embedded in a sea of inactive and uncited papers. We propose an analytically soluble model which allows for the death of nodes. This model provides an excellent description of the citation distributions for live and dead papers in the SPIRES database. Further, this model suggests a novel and general mechanism for the generation of power law distributions in networks whenever the fraction of active nodes is small.

89.65.-s - Social and economic systems.
89.75.-k - Complex systems.

© EDP Sciences 2005