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[Fizinfo] Read before you cite!

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  • From: LORINCZ Andras <lorincz AT>
  • To: fizinfo AT
  • Subject: [Fizinfo] Read before you cite!
  • Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2006 12:58:46 +0200 (CEST)
  • List-archive: <>
  • List-id: "ELFT H&#205;RAD&#211;" <>

*Read before you cite!*

We report a method of estimating what percentage of people who cited a
paper had actually read it. The method is based on a stochastic modeling
of the citation process that explains empirical studies of misprint
distributions in citations (which we show follows a Zipf law). Our
estimate is _/only about 20% of citers read the original./_

*Copied citations create renowned papers?*

Recently we discovered that the majority of scientific citations are
copied from the lists of references used in other papers. Here we show
that a model,
in which a scientist picks three random papers, cites them, and also
copies a quarter of their references accounts quantitatively for
empirically observed citation distribution. Simple mathematical
probability, not genius, can explain why some papers are cited a lot more
than the other.

/"Of course, in some spiritual sense, great scientists do exist. It is
just that even if they would not exist, citation data would look the

  • [Fizinfo] Read before you cite!, LORINCZ Andras, 08/04/2006

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