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Bibliometric indicators of young authors in astrophysics: Can later stars be predicted?


  • Frank Havemann

    () (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

  • Birger Larsen

    (Aalborg University)


Abstract We test 16 bibliometric indicators with respect to their validity at the level of the individual researcher by estimating their power to predict later successful researchers. We compare the indicators of a sample of astrophysics researchers who later co-authored highly cited papers before their first landmark paper with the distributions of these indicators over a random control group of young authors in astronomy and astrophysics. We find that field and citation-window normalisation substantially improves the predicting power of citation indicators. The sum of citation numbers normalised with expected citation numbers is the only indicator which shows differences between later stars and random authors significant on a 1 % level. Indicators of paper output are not very useful to predict later stars. The famous h-index makes no difference at all between later stars and the random control group.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Havemann & Birger Larsen, 2015. "Bibliometric indicators of young authors in astrophysics: Can later stars be predicted?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 102(2), pages 1413-1434, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:102:y:2015:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1476-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-014-1476-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jonas Lindahl & Cristian Colliander & Rickard Danell, 2020. "Early career performance and its correlation with gender and publication output during doctoral education," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 122(1), pages 309-330, January.
    2. Danielle H. Lee, 2019. "Predicting the research performance of early career scientists," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 121(3), pages 1481-1504, December.
    3. Lindahl, Jonas, 2018. "Predicting research excellence at the individual level: The importance of publication rate, top journal publications, and top 10% publications in the case of early career mathematicians," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 518-533.


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