Friday 28 November 2014

At the top of Mt Kilimanjaro

Nature ran a great news feature on the top 100 papers of all time. The graphic below appears in the article and the first thing I wondered is where do papers I've been an author on sit? I know this is pure vanity but lets be honest anyone looking at this is thinking the same thing!

Some bullet points:
  • You need over 12,000 citations to rank in the top 100 
  • Only 14,499 papers have over 1,000 citations
  • Fred Sanger got 12x more citations than Watson and Crick
  • Biology scores highly with Piotr Chomczynski's RNA extraction and Kary Mullis's PCR at position 5 and 63 respectively.
  •  BLAST features twice at positions 12 (BLAST) and 14 (Gapped BLAST) in the top 100.
-->John P. A. Ioannidis et al have a comment article in the same issue - Bibliometrics: Is your most cited work your best? In this they surveyed highly cited authors to ask if their most highly cited work was the most important to them. The answers are not good news for people who rely primarily on citations to rank peoples success. Recently the use of Altmetrics has been discussed, I am a big fan (they scan blog posts) but would say nothing can be used in isolation.

How did I do? So far nothing I've written has made it to over 1000 citations, but 8 papers have made it over 100 so ther's hope that I'll get there in the next twenty years!

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