Thought for the month

“There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.” Probably W.L. Sheldon, US lecturer on ethics (1858 – 1907) rather than Ernest Hemingway.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Talented citations?

Coined by sociologist Robert K Merton, to describe the possibility that the work of those with high status receives greater attention than equivalent work by those who are not as well known, the “Matthew Effect” is a contentious matter in the scientific world. Identifying this phenomenon in scientific paper citations is difficult, as it is hard to separate the status of the author from the quality of the paper. It is possible that better known researchers are producing higher-quality papers, which get more attention as a result. However some supportive evidence has come from a recent study that claims citations of papers increase by 12 percent, above the expected level, when their authors were recipients of a certain award. The effect takes its name from Matthew 25:29, the Parable of the Talents.

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