[asa] gonzalez' citation record

From: Ted Davis <tdavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Fri May 25 2007 - 09:37:52 EDT

I've done some research about Guillermo Gonzalez' publication and citation record, in order to draw my own conclusions about it. He isn't a Nobel laureate (who is?), but his record is far better than many of his critics are maintaining. I'm getting tired of hearing that the data have been manipulated to inflate his ability. Thus I offer the following objective analysis and factual information.

Dr. Gonzalez has an outstanding publication record for a junior scientist. He is co-author of an astronomy text for Cambridge University Press, the top scientific publisher in the world, and an author of dozens of articles in scientific journals, including several recent articles in the top journals in his field (Astronomical Journal, Astrophysical Journal, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society).

According to the ISI Web of Knowledge (the standard source for information about citations in science), Dr. Gonzalez has more than 1200 citations with an h-index of 20. This means that he has contributed to 20 papers that have been cited at least 20 times each. At least four of these were written at ISU, among them a paper in Reviews of Modern Physics of which he is the sole author and a paper in Astronomical Journal, of which he is second author, that has already been cited 49 times in four years. He was sole author or first author of all three of his most frequently cited papers. Furthermore, contrary to some things that have been said, interest in his work has not slackened in recent years; indeed, the five highest years for citing his work are 2002 through 2006, with 2006 having the second highest total number of citations. For comparison, his colleague Dr. Steven Kawaler, an excellent astronomer and full professor at ISU, has been cited about half as much (681 time!
 s, as of this week); his h-index is 16, and none of his papers has been cited as often as any of Dr. Gonzalez’ top four papers. Harvard astronomer Alyssa Goodman, director of The Initiative in Innovative Computing, has an h-index identical to that of Dr. Gonzalez: as interesting and important as her work is, the data reveal that Dr. Gonzalez’ work is no less interesting, at least in terms of citations in professional journals.

If anyone wants a pdf copy of the ISI data, please make a private request and I'll forward it.

So, whatever the reasons for his tenure denial, it can't fairly be laid on his publication record. He's more than met objective criteria for being a full professor of astronomy at either ISU or Harvard.

If anyone wants to continue to claim that this is not an accurate assessment, they will need to be very specific about what is wrong with the ISI data given above, or the other facts. It's always possible that the search brought up papers by other people with the same surname and initials (a few such known instances were removed from the data), or failed to bring up papers by Gonzalez or the others mentioned above. But I doubt that the data I do have is badly wrong. Failing such a failure, then it's time to shut down arguments about him not having done enough high quality research.

Ted

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Received on Fri May 25 09:38:20 2007

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