[ RadSafe ] Read before you cite!

toro toro at ispt.ro
Fri Aug 4 06:42:16 CDT 2006

I received from an other listserv these interesting ideas on the citation process: 
*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 
Laszlo Toro PhD
senior scientist

Institute of Public Health Timisoara
Radiation Hygiene Dept.

RO 300226 Timisoara
Bd. V. Babes 16-18
ph. +40 256 492101 ext 34
fax +40 256 492101
e-mail toro at ispt.ro
       torolaszlo at yahoo.com

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