Robert Fairthorne and the empirical power laws

Ronald Rousseau (KHBO, Industrial Sciences and Technology, Zeedijk, Belgium, and Antwerp University, IBW, Wilrijk, Belgium)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 1 April 2005



Aims to review Fairthorne's classic article “Empirical hyperbolic distributions (Bradford‐Zipf‐Mandelbrot) for bibliometric description and prediction” (Journal of Documentation, Vol. 25, pp. 319‐343, 1969), as part of a series marking the Journal of Documentation's 60th anniversary.


Analysis of article content, qualitative evaluation of its subsequent impact, citation analysis, and diffusion analysis.


The content, further developments and influence on the field of informetrics of this landmark paper are explained.


A review is given of the contents of Fairthorne's original article and its influence on the field of informetrics. Its transdisciplinary reception is measured through a diffusion analysis.



Ronald Rousseau (2005) "Robert Fairthorne and the empirical power laws", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 61 No. 2, pp. 194-202

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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