Exploring the Dynamics of Journal Citations: Modelling with S-Curves

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Mingers, John (2005)

This paper reports on an exploratory analysis of the behaviour of citations for management science papers over a fourteen year period. Citations often display s-curve type behaviour: beginning slowly, rising in response to previous citations, and then declining as the material becomes obsolete. Within the context of citation research such functions are known as obsolescence functions. The paper addresses three specific questions: i) can collections of papers from the same journal all be modelled using the same obsolescence function? ii) Can we identify specific patterns of behaviour such as “sleeping beauties” or “shooting stars”? iii) Can we predict the number of future citations from the pattern of behaviour in the first few years? Over 600 papers published in six leading management science journals are analysed using a variety of s-curves.
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