, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 325–334 | Cite as

Applicability of selected probability distributions to the number of authors per article in theoretical population genetics

  • B. M. Gupta
  • Suresh Kumar
  • R. Rousseau


Recently scientists have investigated what statistical distributions can be used to describe the distribution of the number of authors per article.Ajiferuke has undertaken the most comprehensive study of this problem. He has found that by and large the Inverse Gaussian-Poisson distribution could describe most properly the observed authorship distributions. However, it is well known that this distribution is rather intricate, soRousseau tried to fit some simple one-parameter distributions to the number of authors of LIS articles. He has found that the geometric and the truncated Poisson distribution adequately describe these authorship data sets. The main purpose of the present paper is to continue these investigations and to analyse and test the viability of simple statistical distributions. As to (sub)fields where the single author dominates the results ofRousseau were corroborated: the truncated Poisson and the geometric distribution give often adequate fits to describe the number of authors. The Lotka distribution should be rejected. The truncated binomial distribution and the truncated negative binomial were investigated as well. However, it is not clear whether they are acceptable candidates.


Geometric Distribution American Naturalist Negative Binomial Single Author Fractional Counting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    S. C. Bradford, Sources of information on specific subjects,Engineering, 137 (1934) 85–96.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. J. Lotka, The frequency distribution of scientific productivity,Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 16 (1926) 317–323.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    G. K. Zipf,Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort, Addison-Wesley, Cambridge (MA), 1949.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    R. Rousseau, S. Rousseau, The informetric distributions: a tutorial review/ Les distributions informétriques: un aperçu,The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science, 18(2) (1993) 51–63.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    I. Ajiferuke, A probabilistic model for the distribution of authorships,Journal of the American Society of Information Science, 42(4) (1991) 279–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    R. Rousseau, The number of authors per article in library and information science can often be described by a simple probability distribution,Journal of Documentation, 50(2) (1994) 134–141.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    W. Goffman, K. S. Warren,Scientific Information Systems and the Principle of Selectivity, Praegler, New York, 1980.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    D. B. Worthen, Short-lived technical literature: a bibliometric analysis,Methods of Information in Medicine, 17 (1978) 190–198.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. Felsenstein,Bibliography of Theoretical Population Genetics, Dowden, Hutchison & Ross, PA, 1981.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    P. T. Nicholls, Estimation of Zipf parameters,Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 38 (1987) 443–445; erratum:Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 39 (1988) 287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    R. Rousseau, A table for estimating the exponent in Lotka's law,Journal of Documentation, 49(4) (1993) 409–412.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    L. Egghe, Consequences of Lotka's law in the case of fractional counting of authorship and of first author counts,Mathematical and Computer Modelling, 18 (1993) 63–77.MATHMathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    R. Rousseau, Convolutions and their applications in information science. Preprint 1998.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. M. Gupta
    • 1
  • Suresh Kumar
    • 1
  • R. Rousseau
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.National Institute of Science, Technology and Development StudiesNew Delhi(India)
  2. 2.KHBOOostendeBelgium
  3. 3.UIA, IBWWilrijk(Belgium)

Personalised recommendations