Croatian Scientists Part 2: Number of citations needed to be among Top 1000?

Aco Momcilovic
5 min readDec 6, 2020

And, do we have more women in science than in business?

After gathering and analyzing data from Google Scholar, in the first article I made some comparisons between 4 Universities that were included in the research. As a response, many researchers sent me their comments, complaints, and suggestions. And most of them were very useful and correct. As I mentioned Google Scholar and its measure of citations is far from perfect. Here is a list of 7 facts worth considering:

1. It (Google Scholar) measures and has different criteria for citations than for example Web of Science.

2. There are significant differences in the different fields of science (humanities vs. natural sciences) their production and the general level of citations

3. Even inside natural sciences there are great differences between fields — for example, particle physics and some other areas

4. Some problems require the collaboration of many scientists, which results in a bigger number or them getting citations

5. There are things like “CERN effect” — hubs and research centers who are boosters of the citation numbers

6. Increasing number of recent scientific papers require projects and infrastructure of great financial value and will limit research only for those who have a corporation or state-level funding

7. There is a time delay for the number of citations that depends on many other things than just the quality of the research (it could become popular or confirmed years later)

8. Number of Croatian researchers don’t have a Google Scholar account or are not designated to any of the 5 Universities being considered here

Having that said, my primary interest was to have a better overview of the middle and the bottom of the pyramid and to have some kind of comparisons between Universities and their researchers/scientists. Many interesting facts are available in the first articles, and I am bringing a few more in this one.

Number of citations per groups of 500

All researchers who had at least 20 citations were included in the analysis. The total number of them was around 4000. So I formed groups of 500 by their rank and wanted to compare their level of output. And the first group was just the first top researchers — “superstars”. You can see their comparison in the first graph — in the total number of citations.

Number of citations per 500 researchers

And the same one just showing their percentage.

Percentage of citations per 500 researchers

The output of the Top 10 superstars has been mentioned in the first part, and the relativity of their real measure questioned at the beginning of this article. But the first 500 even without them is producing 40% of total citations (together with the top ten it is 65%). They have combined, more than 1 million citations. The second 500 group (those between 501 and 1000 ranking), is also doing a good job, having combined close to 400 000 citations (more than 10%). It is interesting to see that the last 4 groups, with 2000 researchers have around 10% of citations combined. And not to be forgotten that there are another 1000 researchers that have less than 20 citations (but at least one), and an unknown number of those who don’t have any citations.

Minimum number of citations to enter the category

So, what number of citations one researcher has to have, in order to be among a certain number of top scientists? Numbers are approximated to make it clearer. Threshold numbers are visible in this third graph.

Minimal number of citations to enter the category

In order to be among 1000 researchers in Croatia, you will need at least 500 citations. For the top 500 number is 1000 citations. One who has more than 75 citations will be among the top 3000 in Croatia. Top 10 scientific superstars are not shown in the first graph, because of their specificities, but just for comparison, this is how their threshold of 34000 citations would look in the graph. Everybody else, even the first 500 group looks unrealistically small. And that is as we mentioned probably an artifact of many methodological problems.

Top 10 threshold: 34.000 citations

Number of women in science

And the third part of this analysis is about the percentage of women working as a researcher. This part of the review was conducted on the first 1000 researchers (those with 500 + citations). The percentage of female researchers is lower in the top categories, but getting better when approaching the higher numbers taken into consideration.

Percentage of women in categories

There is only 1 female “superstar” in the Top 10 most cited scientists (Linda Vickovic), but 32% of females in the top 100. Their proportion is getting higher in the next hundreds, making a total of 42% among the top 1000 most cited scientists.

This graph shows the rise in their proportion in the first 10 hundred groups.

The female proportion in groups per 100

They start with only 27% in the first hundred but making more than half researchers in the groups 701–800 and 801 to 900. It would be interesting to compare those numbers with percentages of women in business, and in the top positions. Although they make almost half of the workforce their numbers drop on higher organizational levels, and could be anywhere between 20% and 40% depending on the level, country, etc.

It would be interesting to see the proportion of females in the overall number of 4000 considered researchers. And it would be interesting to see a comparison between countries and their distribution regarding the total number of citations for both males and females.

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Aco Momcilovic

Ph.D. Student. National AI Capital Researcher. Human Resoucres, Psychology, Entrepreneurship, MBA…