Thoughts on uncitedness: Nobel laureates and Fields medalists as case studies

Authors

  • Leo Egghe,

    1. Universiteit Hasselt (UHasselt), Campus Diepenbeek, Agoralaan, B-3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
    2. Universiteit Antwerpen (UA), IBW, Stadscampus, Venusstraat 35, B-2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
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  • Raf Guns,

    1. Universiteit Antwerpen (UA), IBW, Stadscampus, Venusstraat 35, B-2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
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  • Ronald Rousseau

    1. Universiteit Hasselt (UHasselt), Campus Diepenbeek, Agoralaan, B-3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
    2. Universiteit Antwerpen (UA), IBW, Stadscampus, Venusstraat 35, B-2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
    3. KHBO (Association K.U. Leuven), Fac. of Engineering Technology, Zeedijk 101, B-8400 Oostende, Belgium and K.U. Leuven, Dept. Mathematics, Celestijnenlaan 200B, B-3000 Leuven (Heverlee), Belgium
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Errata

This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 63, Issue 2, 429, Article first published online: 1 November 2011

Abstract

Contrary to what one might expect, Nobel laureates and Fields medalists have a rather large fraction (10% or more) of uncited publications. This is the case for (in total) 75 examined researchers from the fields of mathematics (Fields medalists), physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine (Nobel laureates). We study several indicators for these researchers, including the h-index, total number of publications, average number of citations per publication, the number (and fraction) of uncited publications, and their interrelations. The most remarkable result is a positive correlation between the h-index and the number of uncited articles. We also present a Lotkaian model, which partially explains the empirically found regularities.

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