November 09, 2021: “Your profile reached 1000 citations” and 10 balloons
In my academic career to date, I have had my fair share of highs and lows, hits and misses, and ‘accepted’ and ‘rejected’. These all come with the terrain. Today, I choose to celebrate a milestone – 1000 citations on Google Scholar.
I believe that it’s worthwhile to celebrate, even if once in a while. Who knows, our story might be just what someone with similar circumstances to ours needs in order to not give up just yet. It might be just what they need to know that they can reach that goal – whatever it is for them.
To provide some context:
By many standards I am from a rather poor background. My mother is unlettered and was a small trader for most of my childhood. My father did not have much education. Yet, I have a PhD from one of the best training programmes in evolutionary economics.
1000 citations is a lot in economics, especially if you work in a research institute in sub-Saharan Africa. Consider that in the 10 years between 2000 & 2009, average citation per paper in German research institutes that belong to the Leibniz Association was 4.7, according to Rolf Ketzler and Klaus Zimmermann (https://lnkd.in/eWXB5tRd). My Google Scholar profile has 62 publications, 11 of which have not been cited at all. So, 51 publications have returned an average of 19.6 citations each. My Scopus profile has 36 documents and 346 citations. That’s an average of 9.6 per document.
According to a 2014 piece in Nature, https://lnkd.in/eNwSkBb9, the universe of academic papers in the Thomson Reuters Web of Science was around 58 million in 2014, but only 56 per cent of them have been cited at all. Of these, the majority has been cited less than 10 times. So, any paper with at least 10 citations is already in the top 24 per cent of global citations. That makes it outstanding when you have at least 12 papers out of 36 on Scopus that have been cited at least 12 times.
So, what have I learned on the pathway that brought me here?
1. People matter. I have learnt from many, beginning with my parents who taught me how to work hard and with integrity. I never cut corners, and I learnt that from when I was a kid. I have learnt from my PhD supervisor, Prof. Uwe Cantner (https://lnkd.in/e_-97uNc). I’ve been blessed with a wonderfully supportive family – my wife & kids who consistently cheer me on 🙂 I’ve learnt from collaborators. Indeed, if I’ve seen over any distance at all, it is because I have had many shoulders to stand on or lean on.
2. Quality and integrity matter. Early on in my career I had a focus on good research, no matter what. This is paying off now.
3. Most limitations are not real if only we can first overcome them in the mind. The hardest step to take is the first one but once it’s taken, the journey appears progressively easier.