Citation Trends in Astrophysics

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 15:54:41 +0000

    Schwarz, Greg J.; Kennicutt Jr, Robert C. (2004) Demographic
    and Citation Trends in Astrophysical Journal papers and
    Preprints. Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society.

    ABSTRACT: We have used data from ADS, AAS, and astro-ph, to study
    the publishing, preprint posting, and citation patterns for papers
    published in the ApJ in 1999 and 2002. This allowed us to track
    statistical trends in author demographics, preprint posting habits,
    and citation rates for ApJ papers as a whole and across various
    subgroups and types of ApJ papers. The most interesting results
    are the frequencies of use of the astro-ph server across various
    subdisciplines of astronomy, and the impact that such posting has
    on the citation history of the subsequent ApJ papers. By 2002 72%
    of ApJ papers were posted as astro-ph preprints, but this fraction
    varies from 22-95% among the subfields studied. A majority of these
    preprints (61%) were posted after the papers were accepted at ApJ,
    and 88% were posted or updated after acceptance. On average, ApJ
    papers posted on astro-ph are cited more than twice as often as
    those that are not posted on astro-ph. This difference can account
    for a number of other, secondary citation trends, including some of
    the differences in citation rates between journals and different
    subdisciplines. Preprints clearly have supplanted the journals as
    the primary means for initially becoming aware of papers, at least
    for a large fraction of the ApJ author community. Publication
    in a widely-recognized peer-reviewed journal remains as the
    primary determinant of the impact of a paper, however. For example,
    conference proceedings papers posted on astro-ph are also cited twice
    as frequently as those that are not posted, but overall such papers
    are still cited 20 times less often than the average ApJ paper. These
    results provide insights into how astronomical research is currently
    disseminated by authors and ingested by readers.
Received on Thu Feb 17 2005 - 15:54:41 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:47:47 GMT