"Publish or Perish" in the Internet Age: a study of publication statistics in computer networking research

Dah Ming Chiu and Tom Z.J. Fu
Appears in: 
CCR January 2010

This study takes papers from a selected set of computer networking conferences and journals spanning the past twenty years (1989-2008) to produce various statistics to show how our community publishes papers, and how this process is changing over the years. We observe the rapid growth in the rate of publications, venues, citations, authors, and number of co-authors. We explain how these quantities are related, in particular explore how they are related over time and the reasons behind the changes. The widely accepted model to explain the power law distribution of paper citations is preferential attachment. We propose an extension and refinement that suggests elapsed time is also a factor to determine which papers get cited. We try to compare the selected venues based on citation count, and discuss how we might think about these comparisons, in terms of the roles played by different venues, and the ability to predict impact by venues, and citation counts. The treatment of these issues is general and can be applied to study publication patterns in other research communities. The larger goal of this study is to generate discussion about our publication system, and work towards a vision to transform our publication system for better scalability and effectiveness.