Author archive: Simon Provencal and David Campbell

Rationalizing the extremes: introducing the citation distribution index
May 10, 2018
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The distribution of citations among the scientific literature is in many respects similar to the distribution of wealth in the Western World: a handful of articles receive most of the citations, while most of the articles receive few or no citations at all. The distribution of citations is indeed highly skewed and not well represented by its average (the so-called “Bill Gates effect” in the wealth distribution analogy). In fact, when the average is computed for entities that publish a small number of articles, a few highly cited articles could be enough to propel these entities into research superstardom. In this post, we’ll look at an alternative metric Science-Metrix has developed to address the limitations of averages, as well as some of the other metrics we explored to get to that point.