Europhys. Lett.
Volume 75, Number 4, August 2006
Page(s) 673 - 679
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 21 July 2006
Europhys. Lett., 75 (4), pp. 673-679 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2006-10162-1

Scaling behavior in the dynamics of citations to scientific journals

S. Picoli jr, R. S. Mendes, L. C. Malacarne and E. K. Lenzi

Departamento de Física, Universidade Estadual de Maringá Avenida Colombo 5790, 87020-900, Maringá-PR, Brazil

received 12 April 2006; accepted in final form 4 July 2006
published online 21 July 2006

We analyze a database comprising the impact factor (citations per recent items published) of scientific journals for a 13-year period (1992-2004). We find that i) the distribution of impact factors follows asymptotic power law behavior, ii) the distribution of annual logarithmic growth rates has an exponential form, and iii) the width of this distribution decays with the impact factor as a power law with exponent $\beta\simeq 0.22$. The results ii) and iii) are surprising similar to those observed in the growth dynamics of organizations with complex internal structure suggesting the existence of common mechanisms underlying the dynamics of these systems. We propose a general model for such systems, an extension of the simplest model for firm growth, and compare their predictions with our empirical results.

89.90.+n - Other topics in areas of applied and interdisciplinary physics.
89.75.Da - Systems obeying scaling laws.
02.50.-r - Probability theory, stochastic processes, and statistics.

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