2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:45 PM


SCHWARTZ, Frank and FANG, Y.C., Department of Geological Sciences, The Ohio State Univ, 125 South Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210, frank@geology.ohio-state.edu

There is no compelling reason why one would organize his/her ground-water research to be unimpactful. Notwithstanding best efforts in this respect, most research and papers manage rise to mediocrity. This study uses bibliometric data and citation analysis to explore issues of impact. The analysis is based on 3120 papers from the journal Water Resources Research with full contents and their citation data from ISI Web of Science. Experience is that most scientists equate citations numbers with the quality of papers. Citations depend as well on several other factors. Most highly cited papers are typically pioneering – marking the beginning of an important new research strand and encouraging follow-on papers. Papers that comprise an influential strand will be on average highly cited. Research strands follow a life cycle that leads to gradual decline with time. Beyond reinforcing the importance of pioneering efforts, our paper suggests ways to organize research for impact. One must envision a research portfolio that has the innovative potential to dramatically change current thinking. Once or twice in a career, one might have to make a more daunting decision to shift major fields. To accomplish these goals often will require a dynamic operational mode that strives to moves away from common strands. It should come as no surprise that the no-impact road in science is well lighted and easy to follow.