Monday, July 31, 2006

Gould's citation record   posted by the @ 7/31/2006 02:34:00 AM

A comment that crossed my screen via that series of tubes:
There is a perception, alluded to in the discussion above, that while Gould was a remarkably adept and influential writer of popular science, his work as a scientist per se was less notable and much less influential/respected. This is not a view universally held, as a historian of science his contributions are widely described as being outstanding, and he is said to have been very well respected in his own field of paleao biology. However I have tried to establish how influential his science was by establishing how often his scientific papers (not his popular works) have been cited in the scientific literature, through the ISI databases. For comparison, Richard Dawkins' most highly cited scientific paper has 100 citations, Ernst Mayr's has 173, CG Williams' has 253 and D Tutyama's has 394. Gould's most highly cited paper (in Proc R Soc 1979) has 1,613 citations, and the next eight have 863, 609, 291, 169, 138, 121, 121, and 109 citations - the last of these published in 1974 is on antler size. I do not think that any claim that Gould was not highly influential as a scientist is objectively sustainable. His citation record is exceptional by any standards.

Informative and thoughtful comments welcome.