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Showing posts from April, 2011

The injustice of rankings

I've just seen the Top 100 Chemists list, as collected by ISI. In it, they report the impact these chemists have made by dividing the total number of citations by the number of papers in the years 2000-2010. So far, so good.

However, by doing the ranking myself, I noticed that the scientist with the most impact (Charles M. Lieber, 240 citations per paper on average) in fact does not belong to the top. He is not even in the top 100!!!
(according to Essential Science Indicators, he's actually number 123)

What is wrong? Am I looking at different things? No.
ISI has looked only at chemists with at least 50 papers.
This is reminiscent of the h-index, where not the total number of citations count, but also the number of well-cited papers; i.e. an author with one well-cited paper (J.S. Cottrell, or D.M. Creasy, or D.J.C. Pappin, all with 2715 citations for 1 paper) has a h-index of 1, while a scientist like Charles Lieber (75 papers, 18200 citations) has probably at least a h-index of 75 …