What is a Good Number of Citations on Google Scholar?

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While some people should not really mind about the impact of the journals they published in as long as these journals are well-read in their respective fields of research, they should care about these papers being cited by the others.

Talking about citations, there is an interesting fact, which is that a physicist with 2000 or more citations is part of the 1% of most cited physicists in the world.

For those who are looking for highly cited research on Google Scholar, this question, and other related ones, is the subject of intense research in itself. It seems like it is not that hard for people to put a number and rank on things. Not only that, everyone loves to build a hierarchy among things and among human beings.

According to Wikipedia, the top 1% researchers in physics from January 2000 to February 2010 had about 2073 citations or better or about slightly fewer than 210 citations every year for more than a 10-year period. The threshold can be different, depending on the field of the research. It means it is possible for the other fields to be much lower.

Upon hearing this, some people may think that it is low. However, it is actually decent knowing the most published manuscripts are not cited at all. Basically, almost 44% of manuscripts that have been published are never cited. If you have published a manuscript and it manages to get 1 citation, it means you are already in the top half or top 55.8%. If your work gets 10 or more citations, it will be in the top 24% of the most cited work in the world. If it reaches 100 or more citations, the rank will increase to the top 1.8%. From there it can be concluded that the average citation per work is clearly below 10.

There is an excellent blog post by Schott Weingart. He restricts his analysis to a single journal called Scientometrics. The result is similar with 50% of the papers that have been published in that journal having fewer than 4 citations. 70% of them are fewer than 7.

A physics researcher named Luc Beaulieu decided to look at his own publications out of curiosity. Google Scholar and Thomson Reuters Web of Sciences are two tools that are available. Below is how these data are presented:

What is a Good Number of Citations on Google Scholar

From the graph above, it can be seen that the number of manuscripts that collect more than 100 citations is not a lot. In his case, it is only between 2% to 5%, depending on the tool that is used. Two of these tools give more than 60% for 10 or more citations. 2 to 5 works out of 100 manage to break in the top 1.8% most cited manuscripts and 60 out of the 100 are in the top quarter. In the end, it can be concluded that he gets a good result.

It is believed that fewer than 1% of all researchers have published consistently every year between 1996 and 2011. However, those who have already known about the “market share” include authors of 41% of all manuscripts that have been published in the same period.

It seems like more analysis of all of these metrics indicate that there is only a weak correlation between the top 1% of highly cited researchers and Nobel Prize winners. In fact, many of the very highly cited papers are about tools and methods instead of fundamental scientific discoveries that are made with these tools or methods.

Talking about citations on Google Scholar, you may want to know about the top  publications. According to Google Scholar, these include:

  • Publication: Nature
    H5-index: 444
    H5-median: 667
  • Publication: The New England Journal of Medicine
    H5-index: 432
    H5-median: 780
  • Publication: Science
    H5-index: 401
    H5-median: 614
  • Publication: IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
    H5-index: 389
    H5-median: 627
  • Publication: The Lancet
    H5-index: 354
    H5-median: 635
  • Publication: Advanced Materials
    H5-index: 312
    H5-median: 418
  • Publication: Nature Communications
    H5-index: 307
    H5-median: 428
  • Publication: Cell
    H5-index: 300
    H5-median: 505
  • Publication: International Conference on Learning Representations
    H5-index: 286
    H5-median: 533
  • Publication: Neural Information Processing Systems
    H5-index: 278
    H5-median: 436
  • Publication: JAMA
    H5-index: 267
    H5-median: 425
  • Publication: Chemical Reviews
    H5-index: 265
    H5-median: 444
  • Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    H5-index: 256
    H5-median: 364
  • Publication: Angewandte Chemie
    H5-index: 245
    H5-median: 332
  • Publication: Chemical Society Reviews
    H5-index: 244
    H5-median: 386
  • Publication: Journal of the American Chemical Society
    H5-index: 242
    H5-median: 344
  • Publication: IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision
    H5-index: 239
    H5-median: 415
  • Publication: Nucleic Acids Research
    H5-index: 238
    H5-median: 550
  • Publication: International Conference on Machine Learning
    H5-index: 237
    H5-median: 421
  • Publication: Nature Medicine
    H5-index: 235
    H5-median: 389
  • Publication: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
    H5-index: 227
    H5-median: 324
  • Publication: Science of The Total Environment
    H5-index: 225
    H5-median: 311
  • Publication: Advanced Energy Materials
    H5-index: 220
    H5-median: 300
  • Publication: Journal of Clinical Oncology
    H5-index: 213
    H5-median: 315
  • Publication: ACS Nano
    H5-index: 211
    H5-median: 277
  • Publication: Journal of Cleaner Production
    H5-index: 211
    H5-median: 273
  • Publication: Advanced Functional Materials
    H5-index: 210
    H5-median: 280
  • Publication: Physical Review Letters
    H5-index: 207
    H5-median: 294
  • Publication: Scientific Reports
    H5-index: 206
    H5-median: 274
  • Publication: The Lancet Oncology
    H5-index: 202
    H5-median: 329
  • Publication: Energy & Environmental Science
    H5-index: 202
    H5-median: 290
  • Publication: IEEE Access
    H5-index: 200
    H5-median: 303
  • Publication: PLoS ONE
    H5-index: 198
    H5-median: 278
  • Publication: Science Advances
    H5-index: 197
    H5-median: 294
  • Publication: Journal of the American College of Cardiology
    H5-index: 195
    H5-median: 276
  • Publication: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental
    H5-index: 192
    H5-median: 246
  • Publication: Nature Genetics
    H5-index: 191
    H5-median: 297
  • Publication: BMJ
    H5-index: 190
    H5-median: 307
  • Publication: Circulation
    H5-index: 189
    H5-median: 301
  • Publication: European Conference on Computer Vision
    H5-index: 186
    H5-median: 321
  • Publication: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
    H5-index: 183
    H5-median: 253
  • Publication: Nature Materials
    H5-index: 181
    H5-median: 265
  • Publication: Chemical engineering journal
    H5-index: 181
    H5-median: 224
  • Publication: AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence
    H5-index: 180
    H5-median: 296
  • Publication: Journal of Materials Chemistry A
    H5-index: 178
    H5-median: 220
  • Publication: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
    H5-index: 177
    H5-median: 223
  • Publication: Nature Biotechnology
    H5-index: 175
    H5-median: 315
  • Publication: The Lancet Infectious Diseases
    H5-index: 173
    H5-median: 296
  • Publication: Frontiers in Immunology
    H5-index: 173
    H5-median: 228
  • Publication: Applied Energy
    H5-index: 173
    H5-median: 217

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