Archive for October 16, 2013

How do physicists and astronomers team up to write research papers?

Posted in Science Politics with tags , on October 16, 2013 by telescoper

Busy busy today so just time to reblog this, an interesting article about the irresistible rise of the multi-author paper. What fraction of the “authors” actually play any role at all in writing these papers? Am I the only one that thinks this has very profound implications for the way we interpret bibliometric analyses?

Data mines

The way in which physicists and  astronomers team up to write technical papers has changed over the years, and not only is it interesting to look at this behavior for its own sake, but by analyzing the data it may be possible to better understand what role, if any, does the number of authors  have on the scientific impact of a paper. Likewise, such an analysis can allow physics and astronomy journals to make decisions about their publishing policies.

I was curious about the trends in the number of authors per refereed astronomy paper, so I set out to write an R script that would read in data from the NASA Astrophysics Data System, an online database of both refereed and non-refereed academic papers in astronomy and physics. The script counts the monthly number of refereed astronomy and physics papers between January 1967 and September 2013, as well as…

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