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Lotka's law and the pattern of scientific productivity in the dental science literature.

Kawamura M, et al. Med Inform Internet Med. 1999 Oct-Dec.


Statistical regularities can be observed in many natural and social phenomena. From empirical data on the authorship of scientific papers, Lotka deduced an inverse-square law: the number of authors publishing n papers is 1/n2 of those publishing one paper. The general type for the relation (1/n(c)) has a wide range of applicability to a variety of phenomena. This study examined, by means of bibliometric tools, whether Lotka's law could be applied to the literature of dental science. Data came from 20 leading dental science journals, as reported in Journal Citation Reports. The search was performed with a programme developed using Visual Basic for Applications, which counted the number of authors and analysed their contributions to the literature. Authorship for all contributions, as reported in Medline, was compiled for each of these 20 journals for the last 25 years, 1971 through 1995. The total number of authors was 43,796, responsible for 124,556 authorships. The journals published in countries other than the USA exhibited higher degrees of author concentration. The dental science literature conformed very well to Lotka's model with c = 1.95.


10674421 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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