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Tošić, A and Vičič, J (2021)

Use of Benford's law on academic publishing networks

Journal of Informetrics 15(3), 101163.

ISSN/ISBN: Not available at this time. DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2021.101163

Abstract: Benford's law, also known as the first-digit law, has been widely used to test for anomalies in various data ranging from accounting fraud detection, stock prices, and house prices to electricity bills, population numbers, and death rates. Scientific collaboration graphs have been studied extensively as data availability increased. Most research was oriented towards analysing patterns and typologies of citation graphs and co-authorship graphs. Most countries group publications into categories in an attempt to objectively measure research output. However, the scientific community is complex and heterogeneous. Additionally, scientific fields may have different publishing cultures, which make creating a unified metric for evaluating research output problematic. In complex systems like these, it is important to regularly observe potential anomalies and examine them more carefully in an attempt to either improve the evaluation model or find potential loopholes and misuses. In this paper, we examine the potential application of Benford's law on the official research database of Slovenia. We provide evidence that metrics such as number of papers per researcher conform to Benford's distribution, while the number of authors per paper does not. Additionally, we observe some anomalies and provide potential reasoning behind them.

@article{TOSIC2021101163, title = {Use of Benford's law on academic publishing networks}, journal = {Journal of Informetrics}, volume = {15}, number = {3}, pages = {101163}, year = {2021}, doi = {10.1016/j.joi.2021.101163}, url = {}, author = {AleksandarTošić and Jernej Vičič}, }

Reference Type: Journal Article

Subject Area(s): General Interest, Statistics