Classification of abrupt changes along viewing profiles of scientific articles (preprint)


With the expansion of electronic publishing, a new dynamics of scientific articles dissemination was initiated. Nowadays, many works are widely disseminated even before publication, in the form of preprints. Another important new element concerns the views of published articles. Thanks to the availability of respective data by some journals, such as PLoS ONE, it became possible to develop investigations on how scientific works are viewed along time, often before the first citations appear. This provides the main theme of the present work. More specifically, our research was motivated by preliminary observations that the view profiles along time tend to present a piecewise linear nature. A methodology was then delineated in order to identify the main segments in the view profiles, which allowed several related measurements to be derived. In particular, we focused on the inclination and length of each subsequent segment. Basic statistics indicated that the inclination can vary substantially along subsequent segments, while the segment lengths resulted more stable. Complementary joint statistics analysis, considering pairwise correlations, provided further information about the properties of the views. In order to better understand the view profiles, we performed respective multivariate statistical analysis, including principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering. The results suggest that a portion of the polygonal views are organized into clusters or groups. These groups were characterized in terms of prototypes indicating the relative increase or decrease along subsequent segments. Four respective distinct models were then developed for representing the observed segments. It was found that models incorporating joint dependencies between the properties of the segments provided the most accurate results among the considered alternatives.