Lotka's law


Definition: The number of authors making n contributions is about 1/na of those making one contribution, where a is often nearly 2.

See also Zipf's law, Benford's law, Bradford's law.

Note: A power law; often nearly an inverse square law.

Contributed by Christiane Fritze <> July 2000.

Author: PEB

More information

A short biography of Alfred James Lotka.

Alfred J. Lotka, The Frequency Distribution of Scientific Productivity, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 16(12):317-323, 1926.

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Entry modified 17 December 2004.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "Lotka's law", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 17 December 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: