‘Elite’ researchers dominate the citation space

'Elite' researchers dominate the citation space

Researchers who are already frequently cited have received an increasing share of citations since at least 2000.Credit: Getty

An analysis of more of 26 million scientific studies published by more over 4 million researchers between 2000 and 2015 found that in 2015, the top 1% of authors made up 21% of all citations.

This quotation inequality has become more extreme over time, and the share of citations from US-based scientists is declining.

Citations are considered a key measure of an article’s importance, and university and funding administrators often take this into account when deciding whether or not to grant a researcher mandate or grants. In their analysis1, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sociologist Mathias Nielsen of the University of Copenhagen and bibliometrician Jens Peter Andersen of Aarhus University in Denmark reviewed peer-reviewed articles in 118 scientific disciplines in the international Web of Science database.

Growing disparity

The researchers devised an algorithm to create a profile of each author with five or more publications. They then found all …

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