Quantifying the evolution of individual scientific impact

Are there quantifiable patterns behind a successful scientific career? Sinatra et al. analyzed the publications of 2887 physicists, as well as data on scientists publishing in a variety of fields. When productivity (which is usually greatest early in the scientist’s professional life) is accounted for, the paper with the greatest impact occurs randomly in a scientist’s career. However, the process of generating a high-impact paper is not an entirely random one. The authors developed a quantitative model of impact, based on an element of randomness, productivity, and a factor Q that is particular to each scientist and remains constant during the scientist’s career.

 

Quantifying the evolution of individual scientific impact
Roberta Sinatra, Dashun Wang, Pierre Deville, Chaoming Song, Albert-László Barabási

Science  04 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6312, 
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf5239

Source: science.sciencemag.org