1 Sep 2011

Citations

“You have been on Szeto’s blog for 5 consecutive days!” exclaimed LL and HC.

They were talking about my post 3 weeks ago (http://vwswong.blogspot.com/2011/08/unlucky.html). That piece was written for fun, but the subsequent elaboration by my friend was a masterpiece. As a result, there was also a modest increase in the number of views on my blog.

If that was a scientific article, it would have become a highly-cited paper. After impact factor, universities worldwide are now obsessed about citations. This is a fairer way to evaluate scientific works. After all, impact factor was designed to measure the performance of journals but not individual papers (see http://vwswong.blogspot.com/2011/01/impact.html for details). Individual papers are better judged by how often they get cited by others and whether they stimulate further works in related fields.

Nevertheless, my example illustrates that this system is imperfect. True, landmark studies and major breakthroughs are highly cited. But so are controversial and flawed works. Others cannot help refuting a shaky article. At the same time, however, they are forced to cite the original work.

P.S. Yes, I do look at my blog statistics because it is so interesting. At one time, I could not understand why so many Russians were reading my scribbles. LL enlightened me. That happened because similar blogs were blocked by the Chinese government. The ‘Russians’ were actually friends from mainland China (I forgot the technical term describing this phenomenon). Anyhow, I cannot be more grateful.

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