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Citations in science: Factors you don’t hear so much about

In Nature, Philip Ball asks “Are scientific reputations boosted artificially?” (6 May 2011),

Does everyone in science get the recognition they deserve?

Obviously, your work hasn’t been sufficiently appreciated by your peers, but what about everyone else? Yes, I know he is vastly over-rated, and it’s a mystery why she gets invited to give so many keynote lectures, but that aside — is science a meritocracy?

How would you judge? Reputation is often a word-of-mouth affair; grants, awards and prizes offer a rather more concrete measure of success. But increasingly, scientific excellence is measured by citation statistics, not least by the ubiquitous h-index1, which is intended to quantify the impact of your literary oeuvre. Do all or any of these things truly reflect the worth of one’s scientific output?

Many would probably say: “sort of”. More.

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One Response to Citations in science: Factors you don’t hear so much about

  1. 1

    I am just a civilian observer but I observe that unless someone does something really obviously contributing to some subject then why does anyone deserve a reputation higher then someone else?
    Even prizes etc are based on a few peoples opinions.
    I notice in great achievements , like Einstein etc, they hardly bring up Nobel prizes at all. I conclude that because his idea is so prestigious that there can not be or needs be any other symbol of prestige, Nobel, that adds to it.
    if theres a question of who’s who then its evidence not much going on.

    I notice also that there is a clear agenda, at least in public media, to push into the limelight ethnic and women identities that are famous for not contributing their weight.
    They want to build up in the people or kids the idea that there identity is not stoping or slowing down their chances to do well in ‘science”.
    when in fact identity is very important right now.
    There are secret motives to give and take reputation .
    For sure being a creationist is not irrelevant to how much your reputation is scored.
    it matters obviously and fair enough to be suspicious it matters a wee bit more.

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