, Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 981–998 | Cite as

A fitness model for scholarly impact analysis



We propose a model to analyze citation growth and influences of fitness (competitiveness) factors in an evolving citation network. Applying the proposed method to modeling citations to papers and scholars in the InfoVis 2004 data, a benchmark collection about a 31-year history of information visualization, leads to findings consistent with citation distributions in general and observations of the domain in particular. Fitness variables based on prior impacts and the time factor have significant influences on citation outcomes. We find considerably large effect sizes from the fitness modeling, which suggest inevitable bias in citation analysis due to these factors. While raw citation scores offer little insight into the growth of InfoVis, normalization of the scores by influences of time and prior fitness offers a reasonable depiction of the field’s development. The analysis demonstrates the proposed model’s ability to produce results consistent with observed data and to support meaningful comparison of citation scores over time.


Citation analysis Normalized citation scores Preferential attachment Fitness Citation network Scholarly impact Information visualization 



I would like to thank Thomas Carsey, Paul Solomon, and Cassidy R. Sugimoto for valuable discussions. I also appreciate constructive comments from Jeff Harden, Ellen Gutman and anonymous Scientometrics reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Information Science and TechnologyDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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