This post is focused on citation histories for JGR-ES papers — how a paper and groups of papers accumulate citations through time. JGR-ES started in 2003, and in a previous post I outlined the growth in number of papers published per year.

From the Web of Science I downloaded all of the data for all JGR papers and their respective citations. I grouped papers by year and investigated yearly groups/cohorts in the plots below.

I’ll call this first figure a set of cumulative citation plots — the x-axis is the year since publication, and the y-axis is fraction of total citations for each paper. Each panel represents a specific cohort of JGR-ES papers (all of the papers published in a given year), and each black line represents a single paper as it accumulates citations through time from 0 to 1 (i.e., no citations to its own maximum number of citations).

Keep in mind that each x-axis is a different length (depending on the age of the cohort). Notice how each paper tends to accrue citations in a generally smooth manner — a notable outlier is the curve in 2006, where a paper waits 7 years before its first citation(s).

We can also look at the citation history of these yearly cohorts of papers in a different way— given group of papers published in a single year, what is the mean number of citations/paper in a given year as a function of paper age. Below is a plot for mean citations/year as a function of paper age for 8 cohorts —(all papers from JGR-ES published each year from 2003 to 2010). (‘mean’ might not be the best metric, but let’s stick with it for now, without ‘min’ and ‘max bounds).

One key aspect of each curve is that most tend to trend upward even after the 2 and 5 year windows — keep in mind that these are the time periods used for calculating Journal Impact Factor (and 5 year Journal Impact Factor). In fact the mean citations/year do not show strong downward trends, suggesting that papers from JGR-ES tend to have a long ‘life’.

One other note — cohorts from more recent times (2007 onward) tend to have larger mean citations/year. I imagine this is related to the general growth in JIF through time for geomorphology journals.