The extreme upper tail of Japan's citation distribution reveals its research success

Alonso Rodriguez-Navarro, Ricardo Brito

A number of indications, such as the number of Nobel Prize winners, show Japan to be a scientifically advanced country. However, standard bibliometric indicators place Japan as a scientifically developing country. The present study is based on the conjecture that scientific publications from Japan belong to two different populations: one originates from studies that advance science and includes highly cited papers, while the other is formed by lowly cited papers with almost zero probability of being highly cited. Although these two categories of papers cannot be easily identified and separated, the scientific level of Japan and the hypothesis that would explain its poor bibliometric evaluations can be tested by studying the extreme upper tail of the citation distribution of all scientific articles. In contrast to standard bibliometric indicators, which are calculated from the total number of papers or from sets of papers in which the two categories of papers are mixed, in the extreme upper tail, only papers of the first category will be present. Based on the extreme upper tail, Japan belongs to the group of scientifically advanced countries and is significantly different from countries with a low scientific level. The same approach also reveals differences between countries not revealed by standard bibliometric indicators.

Knowledge Graph

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