This is a little competition just for fun. It is only for my past/present postgrads and postdocs that are listed below. As you can see, year by year their ISI citation counts increase. I have put the winning figure in bold for each year. The rule is all papers by that candidate are included—even if papers were not written at this university. The idea is to encourage good writing to occur beyond these walls. The rules are that I only use ISI as the measure.
The prize is $1000 for the person with the most citations at the end of year 2010. Be aware that even if you are a PhD student that graduates in 2010, you can still be the winner—it is possible to still beat the older guys...because citations have a certain half-life. I will probably award the prize every ten years from then on, so if you miss out the first time you can still catch up.
|Andrew G. Allison||0||0||0||2||6||13||22||29||38||49||60|
|Said F. Al-sarawi||1||6||9||11||32||35||41||55||63||162||184|
|Matthew J. Berryman||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||8||21||32||39|
|Frederic D. R. Bonnet||0||2||23||76||161||228||317||360||395||489||528|
|Bernd M. Fischer||0||0||1||8||33||73||151||228||331||621||773|
|Bradley (Brad) S. Ferguson||0||0||0||7||4||96||150||211||283||553||683|
|Adrian P. Flitney||0||0||0||3||12||19||43||65||85||137||169|
|Leonard T. Hall||0||0||1||0||0||0||2||0||3||6|
|Greg P. Harmer||0||3||29||93||126||165||222||275||318||454|
|Mark D. McDonnell||0||0||0||0||5||15||31||58||91||162|
|Samuel (Sam) P. Mickan||0||0||4||13||22||31||41||52||66||151|
|Joseph (Joey) Ng||0||0||0||1||5||9||15||16||20||33|
|Gretel M. Png||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||12|
|Ajay Chandra Tikka||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Benjamin Seam Yu Ung||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||11|
|Withawat (Job) Withayachumnankul||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||21|
|Jiansheng (Jason) Xu||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||9|
|Xiaoxia (Sunny) Yin||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||19|
|Shaoming (Sean) Zhu||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
These figures need to be corrected using this formula. This is left as an exercise for the reader. ;)
The Secret of How To Win
The Correct Steps
- Always ask me if you have questions.
- Start writing a paper the day you start your PhD. If you write a really good review of your topic, it is a good way to start. Ask me for help in identifying a cute tractable problem that could make a good early journal article.
- Publish papers as you go along in every year of your PhD. It is a good discipline and makes writing your final thesis easier.
- When your thesis is written and being proof read by me, use that spare time to convert some of your thesis into papers.
- Always upload preprints of your papers either on the Los Alamos ArXiv or NEC Citeseer or both. This gives your papers visibility. Do this religiously.
- When writing a paper, use the introduction to provide a motivating context. So it grabs the interest of the reader.
- When writing a paper the goal is for you to communicate ideas in the clearest way. It is not to show how clever you are with pages of obscure stuff that no one can understand. The more people that can understand your paper, the more it will be cited.
- When writing mathematics, always ensure there is plenty of explanation in English between each mathematical step. Also stay focussed on communicating the physical picture that the maths brings. Maths for its own sake is boring. Use it to bring out the physics.
- To improve clarity always make sure the paper is proof-read many times. Do not rush it. Make sure myself and your other supervisors are happy with it. Get a friend on the desk next to you to proof read it. It helps if you use a friend who is not working on a similar topic, who can tell you if something in your paper sounds odd or unclear. Offer to proof read other people's papers.
- At conferences make sure you use all the lunch and coffee breaks for networking and making friends around the world. If you sit in a corner, you are totally wasting the opportunity of a conference. Swap emails and make contacts. The more you get known, the more people will check out your papers. Keep track of all your international contacts by using the LinkedIn web utility.
- Take 50 photocopies of your best 1-2 papers to conferences, and leave them on the brochure desk as a handout.
- Maintain your publication list on your home page. Make an attractive homepage that is clear about what you are working on.
- Conference papers do not get ISI citation counts. So the trick is to ensure that after a conference you take that paper, correct it, extend it, and submit it to a journal. Use the feedback you got in the conference to guide you how to improve that paper. A great way to get feedback is to present a poster and try to engage as many people as possible. Always build on every conference paper to form a journal paper.
- When there is an international visitor to the lab who is working in your area, I will usually ask you to do "Show & Tell" on the work you are doing. This is also a good opportunity to swap references, and give the visitor printouts of your best papers.
- If you get a really cute or exciting result, a good approach is to publish a short journal letter first to disseminate the result quickly. Then publish a longer journal article with the full details shortly after. The idea is that the letter version benefits the scientific community by getting out quickly. The community can then build on the idea as early as possible.
- Always submit your papers preferentially to high impact factor journals.
- When your paper is finally published, individually email the pdf to selected collaborators and contacts that you have met at conferences etc.
- Make sure your thesis contains good Appendices with clear details on what you have done and how to run your Matlab code etc. Properly comment your code so that others can understand it. This is the way for you to create a legacy for new PhD students to build on your work, extend it, and gratefully cite you.
The Correct Attitude
- So when you leave, make sure everything is set up for someone else to easily continue where you left off. Stay in email contact, and help a new PhD student who has questions about your stuff. Be patient with them as you were once a PhD too. You may even find yourself co-authoring with new PhD students via email collaboration, after you have left. That also builds your future citation rate.
- Remember: "You can hold more sand in an open palm than a clenched fist." Some supervisors are into keeping results secret, patenting things, and not openly sharing ideas, code, and data. As you can see this is not my philosophy at all. I am into the "open palm" approach, as I believe in keeping everything flowing. If you do not share this philosophy, then you are free to leave now and find another supervisor.
- Research knowledge is like manure. If manure is widely distributed is feeds the plants that grow. If the manure is locked up in a shed it smells.
- Some graduated PhD students do not pass on their stuff to new PhD students because they are 'embarrassed' that a mistake might be later found in their work. This is not the correct attitude. A famous case is that of Claude Shannon: half his thesis was totally wrong and half of it was brilliant, creating the field of information theory. It is the good parts we remember him for. If we find a significant mistake in your work in the future, we will turn it into a positive and write a paper that corrects the result and invite you to coauthor (provided we know how to contact you).
- Finally, the biggest secret is to treat the whole thing like a game. Don't take yourself too seriously. Foremost, you should be having fun with it all. Hang loose. If you are stiff and take yourself too seriously, it makes your papers boring and no one will read them.
- It is possible you may be lucky to enough get a great citation rate by ignoring my above advice. But if you had followed the above advice, your rate would have been even larger.
- "Claude Elwood Shannon: collected papers," Eds., N. J. A. Sloane and A. D. Wyner, IEEE Press, New York, 1993.