A citation-based cross-disciplinary study on literature aging: part I—the synchronous approach

Lin Zhang, W. Glänzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


We provide a view of the literature aging features in the sciences and social sciences, at different aggregation levels, of major fields, subfields, journals and individual papers and from different perspectives. Against to the wide belief that scientific literature may become more rapidly obsolete, we found that, in general, the share of more recent references were distinctly lower in 2014 than that in 1992, which holds for all aggregation levels. As exceptions, the subfields related to Chemistry and the subfield energy and fuels, have shown a clear trend to cite more recent literature than older articles. Particle and nuclear physics and astronomy and astrophysics, the two subfields which strongly rely on e-print archives, have shown a ‘polarization’ tendency of reference distribution. Furthermore, we stress that it is very important to measure the Price Index at the paper level to account for differences between the documents published in the same journals and (sub-)fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Feb 27 2017



  • Citations
  • Literature aging
  • Price Index
  • References

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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