Citations to GRL articles conform to Benford’s law

I have written about Benford’s law in a previous post — the ‘law’ describes the frequency of first digits (1,2,….9) in a set of data will be non-uniform: i.e., Lower digits (1,2) occur more frequently than higher digits (8,9). From work on this blog, I have a data set composed of bibliographic and citation data on ~30,000 articles from Geophysical Research Letters downloaded from the Web of Science. I have used this data for authorship trends, number of papers published yearly, and to look at the number of references cited in a typical article.  Each article is associated with a number of times it has been cited. This data (times cited for each article) conforms (almost exactly) to Benford’s law:

GRLBenford.jpg

 

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