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Is there a golden age in publication activity?—an analysis of age-related scholarly performance across all scientific disciplines

Author

Listed:
  • Balázs Győrffy

    (Semmelweis University
    Institute of Enzymology)

  • Gyöngyi Csuka

    (University of Pannonia)

  • Péter Herman

    (Semmelweis University
    Institute of Enzymology)

  • Ádám Török

    (University of Pannonia
    Budapest University of Technology and Economics)

Abstract

We examined whether the publication characteristics of various scientific disciplines exhibit age-related trends. Our analysis was based on two large data sets comprising all major scientific disciplines. Citation data for European Research Council grant holders (ERC, n = 756) were obtained from Google Scholar. Publication data for Hungarian researchers (HUN, n = 2469) were obtained from the Hungarian Scientific Work Archive. The evaluated performance parameters include the number of citations received and the number of high quality first/last author papers published in the last five years. We designated the time between maximum growth and the achieved maximal annual value of total citations as the Golden Age of a researcher. Regarding citation growth, the mean age at the highest growth was 41.75 and 41.53 years for ERC grantees and Hungarian researchers, respectively. Each discipline had different values, with mathematics (38.5 years, ERC) and biology (34.7 years, HUN) having the youngest mean age of highest citation growth and agriculture (45.2 years, ERC) and language sciences (49.9 years, HUN) having the oldest mean age. The maximal growth of publications occurred at 44.5 years, with physics starting first (40.5 years, HUN) and language sciences as last (51.4 years, HUN). Most academic careers require decades to reach their peak and the length of the period of maximum performance varies across disciplines. The most creative time period is rising and is currently in the second half of the forties. Identifying the Golden Age in diverse research careers may be of substantial help in the distribution of grants and tenure positions.

Suggested Citation

  • Balázs Győrffy & Gyöngyi Csuka & Péter Herman & Ádám Török, 2020. "Is there a golden age in publication activity?—an analysis of age-related scholarly performance across all scientific disciplines," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 124(2), pages 1081-1097, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:124:y:2020:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-020-03501-w
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-020-03501-w
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    2. Zoltán Krajcsák, 2021. "Researcher Performance in Scopus Articles ( RPSA ) as a New Scientometric Model of Scientific Output: Tested in Business Area of V4 Countries," Publications, MDPI, vol. 9(4), pages 1-23, October.

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