Friday, May 29, 2015

Impact factors

As chief executive editor of a journal (Geoscientific Model Development), I've learned how the "impact factor" is calculated. Basically it counts the number of citations a paper gets in the 2 years after it is published. When I first learned this I was really surprised that the timescale is so short. I think 2 years isn't really long enough for someone else to pick up your ideas and run with them, so publish something really new without many co-authors and you are likely to not score well on this metric. Nevertheless, I think that papers in GMD, which is all about publishing model descriptions, really ought to get cited - otherwise it seems no one is using the models!

In Nature this week, there are some articles for us all to take comfort from. They are about "Sleeping Beauty Papers". 

They say, 
"Scientific papers typically accrue citations steadily, peak and then decline. Those that at first lie dormant, before being discovered and enjoying a late surge, are dubbed sleeping beauties. In many cases, the awakening comes when the published research finds applications in a different field, such as when statistical methods acquire a use in biology. Some papers were ahead of their time, and described techniques that could not be exploited properly until the creation and curation of large modern databases." 

They quote famous examples, with zillions of citations. Maybe they are just weird outliers, and all they prove is that this will never happen to us - our zero citation papers are zero citation papers for ever? But we have a more normal example, right in our very family. My very own Uncle-John-In-Law published a paper in 1978:

Volume: 32  Issue: 143  Pages: 918-924
DOI: 10.2307/2006496
Published: 1978

Here's the citation chart:

Published in 1978, there are only 4 citations in the first decade (none in the first two years, which means it contributed two zeros to the journal's impact factor), and 253 thereafter, peaking in 2010!

It is maths, so not so much the "application in a different field", as "application in any field". In this case, it is something to do with interwebs security.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Aad luck

I'm a fan of the convention in maths (at least some subfields), and perhaps other areas of research, of authors being listed alphabetically. It just seems natural and fair, somehow.

If I made a habit of collaborating with 5,000 authors I might consider changing my name to Aaaannan though.

Monday, May 11, 2015

[jules' pics] The prodigal cat

Oh noes. He's back!
Apparently, Riley the cat has too much character, and his new owners gave him back after less than a week. So, on return from Vienna we had to go and pick him up again. However, Riley is so much trouble, that I begged for another cat to distract him. The rescue woman suggested Blackie, a probably older and definitely much calmer creature of similarly large stature. It's worked pretty well so far, although Blackie, a scraggy stray when he arrived with us, seems to be getting rather sleek and fat. He does have a very different temperament to Riley. He does nothing much all day apart from doing purring while being stroked. He also has been trying to teach Riley to be more of a gentleman. While that may not be working our that well, he does at least occupy some of Riley's time, and the two now seem to be quite good friends. So now both cats are advertised together on the rescue website. Hope they find a home soon!

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 5/11/2015 05:07:00 PM

Saturday, May 09, 2015

[jules' pics] Vienna

We went to the EGU in Vienna last month. I've already published my photos on postcards to relatives, via Touchnote, so the desire to blog them was less urgent.

Not being anymore bound by Japanese rules, which do not permit one to stay away form work a minute longer than necessary, we had no need to bunk off and go touristing during the conference, and instead took an extra day post-EGU. Having visited quite a few times before, we didn't feel the need to visit lots of museums and galleries, although we did manage a performance of Mozart's Requiem, in the wild vibrational acoustic of Karlskirche. So, on Saturday morning we just wandered around the city.

Stephansdom, the church in the middle of town has been undergoing major works for years. This tower was under wraps when we visited 2 years ago, and even now the lower part of it is still covered.
After walking around various markets, we ended up at the Belvedere where we enjoyed coffee and cake.
Vienna from Belvedere
Which was followed by more Austrian food at nearby beer restaurant, Salm Brau.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 5/09/2015 05:23:00 PM