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21 Percent of Academic Citations Go to 1 Percent of Scientists

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In the span of only 15 years, a small academic elite has increased its share of academic citations significantly. In the year 2000, 14 percent of all citations went to the top one percent of the most cited researchers. New research shows that this figure rose to 21 percent in 2015.

Senior researcher Jens Peter Andersen at Aarhus University and associate professor Mathias Wullum Nielsen at the University of Copenhagen examined almost 26 million scientific papers and four million authors. They describe their work in "Global Citation Inequality Is on the Rise," published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The concentration of citations can lead to an increased "monopoly on the marketplace of ideas," Andersen says.

"When established researchers set the agenda, we risk a stagnation in breakthroughs," he says. "This is a problem of diversity, not only related to those who get the opportunity to do research but also to the scope of ideas and methods that are accommodated."

From Aarhus University
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