An extremely important measure of a scientist’s reputation is the impact his or her research is having upon a field as measured by the number of citations to that scientist’s work in research articles by other scientists. In short, the more times a scientist’s work has been cited by others, the greater the impact of his work on his particular field. By this standard, Iowa State University (ISU) astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez has performed incredibly well, despite his denial of tenure by ISU.
Gonzalez joined ISU in 2001, and for his publications since 2001 he has the highest normalized citation count of all astronomers in his department, including both tenured and untenured faculty! Moreover, despite the fact that he is much younger than many of the tenured faculty members in the department, he has the second highest lifetime normalized citation count among all astronomers in his department.
Normalized citation counts for ISU astronomers are reflected in the graphs below:
This data was collected using the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS), a widely respected database cataloging the scientific literature in astronomy. The database can calculate the “normalized citation count” for a given scientist, which represents a sum of the number of citations for each paper of a given author corrected for the number of authors in each paper. This is intended to measure the individual contributions made by a single scientist by taking into account the fact that an author will have relatively less contribution to a paper with many authors compared to a paper with fewer authors. (Thus if a paper has 2 authors, each author would get .5 citations added to their citation count every time that paper is cited; if there are 4 authors, then each author gets 0.25 citations; but if there is only 1 author, the author gets 1 citation added, and so forth.)
Normalized citation counts for ISU astronomers since 2001, and also over their entire lifetimes are also represented in the third and fourth columns in the table below:
Table 1: Normalized Citation Count for All Astronomers in ISU Dept. of Physics & Astronomy (2001-2007, and Lifetime) (Emboldened data indicates highest in the table for that column; methodology explained in further detail below.)
|Name||Description||Normalized Citation Count|
|George H. Bowen||Professor Emeritus, Tenured Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.||33||587|
|David A. Carter-Lewis||Full Professor, Tenured Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.||11||96|
|Guillermo Gonzalez||Assistant Professor, Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy; Recently Denied Tenure.||144||850|
|Stephen D. Kawaler||Full Professor (Current Program Coordinator), Tenured Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.||40||905|
|Charles Kerton||Assistant Professor, Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.||30||53|
|Frank Krennrich||Associate Professor, Tenured Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.||35||117|
|Richard C. Lamb||Professor Emeritus, Tenured Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.||18||422|
|Martin Pohl||Assistant Professor [Recently Granted Tenure], Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.||103||489|
|Curt Struck||Full Professor, Tenured Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.||68||688|
|Lee Anne Willson||University Professor, Most Prestigious Tenured Astronomer in ISU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.||13||680|
As can be seen, Dr. Gonzalez has the highest normalized citation count for articles published since 2001 (the year he joined ISU) among astronomers in his department. He is even second in his department in lifetime normalized citations! Given this high citation count, it seems clear Dr. Gonzalez has had a tremendous impact upon the science of his field of astronomy. By this measure, there is every reason to believe he has demonstrated the “excellence” in research that normally leads to an award of tenure. Perhaps are there other factors in the mix?
- Column 3 — Determine “Normalized Citation Count, 2001-2007”: At the Smithsonian/NASA ADS, select the “Sort by normalized citation count” option to determine the normalized citation count for a given author. In “Publication Date between” fields, select from 01/2001 through 05/2007.
- Column 4 — Determine “Normalized Citation Count, Lifetime”: At the Smithsonian/NASA ADS, select the “Sort by normalized citation count” option to determine the normalized citation count for a given author. Leave the “Publication Date between” fields blank to search for the lifetime normalized citation count.
[UPDATED on May 28, 2007 at 12:15 am. The Smithsonian/NASA ADS is a continually updated database, and it has apparently already been updated since we first collected this data. The data in this post has now been updated accordingly to reflect updates in the database, as well as newly learned information about an ISU astronomer reported in a Chronicle of Higher Education correction. These updates do not affect the standing of Dr. Gonzalez relative to other ISU astronomers.]