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Quantifying the influence of scientists and their publications: distinguishing between prestige and popularity

Yan-Bo Zhou, Linyuan Lü1, and Menghui Li

posted on 31 May 2012

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The number of citations is a widely used metric for evaluating the scientific credit of papers, scientists and journals. However, it so happens that papers with fewer citations from prestigious scientists have a higher influence than papers with more citations. In this paper, we argue that by whom the paper is being cited is of greater significance than merely the number of citations. Accordingly, we propose an interactive model of author–paper bipartite networks as well as an iterative algorithm to obtain better rankings for scientists and their publications. The main advantage of this method is twofold: (i) it is a parameter-free algorithm; (ii) it considers the relationship between the prestige of scientists and the quality of their publications. We conducted real experiments on publications in econophysics, and used this method to evaluate the influence of related scientific journals. The comparison between the rankings by our method and simple citation counts suggests that our method is effective in distinguishing prestige from popularity.