Frequently cocited publications: Features and kinetics

Sitaram Devarakonda, James R. Bradley, Dmitriy Korobskiy, Tandy Warnow, George Chacko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cocitation measurements can reveal the extent to which a concept representing a novel combination of existing ideas evolves towards a specialty. The strength of cocitation is represented by its frequency, which accumulates over time. Of interest is whether underlying features associated with the strength of cocitation can be identified. We use the proximal citation network for a given pair of articles (x, y) to compute Ɵ, an a priori estimate of the probability of cocitation between x and y, prior to their first cocitation. Thus, low values for Ɵ reflect pairs of articles for which cocitation is presumed less likely. We observe that cocitation frequencies are a composite of power-law and lognormal distributions, and that very high cocitation frequencies are more likely to be composed of pairs with low values of Ɵ, reflecting the impact of a novel combination of ideas. Furthermore, we note that the occurrence of a direct citation between two members of a cocited pair increases with cocitation frequency. Finally, we identify cases of frequently cocited publications that accumulate cocitations after an extended period of dormancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1223-1241
Number of pages19
JournalQuantitative Science Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bibliometrics
  • Cocitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Analysis
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Numerical Analysis


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