Citation rates are becoming increasingly important in judging the research quality of journals, institutions and departments, and individual faculty. This paper looks at the pattern of citations across different management science journals and over time. A stochastic model is proposed which views the generating mechanism of citations as a gamma mixture of Poisson processes generating overall a negative binomial distribution. This is tested empirically with a large sample of papers published in 1990 from six management science journals and found to fit well. The model is extended to include obsolescence, i.e., that the citation rate for a paper varies over its cited lifetime. This leads to the additional citations distribution which shows that future citations are a linear function of past citations with a time-dependent and decreasing slope. This is also verified empirically in a way that allows different obsolescence functions to be fitted to the data. Conclusions concerning the predictability of future citations, and future research in this area are discussed
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