I stumbled over this to me interesting Q&A solving a fermi question by estimating the right order of magnitude. In the age of publish or perish in my opinion it becomes a crucial question for young researchers/PhD students without permanent position to decide which way to go:

  • publishing high impact articles/letters in renowned journals and/or high-quality/effort research that can yield a lot of scientific feedback

  • trying to publish as much articles as possible in peer-reviewed journals

When I talk with chinese researchers (physics) more and more of them get evaluated by the bare numbers of their publication record, less by the quality of their work. Also, among professors (in germany) I see different agendas (internal incentives/charges at the university, country...) to rather go to one extreme and I already often face discussions with my professor how to split up results into papers.

For young researchers, which in the end are self-responsible for their career and cannot rely on good choices/incentives of the university/professor the question is: As long as I have no permanent position, should I try to accomplish outstanding research or publish as many short articles/letters as possible?

For me, as a physicist, I make my decisions on facts & numbers. I made some estimations based on data given here. But I don't want to bias answers and I know some researchers in bibliometrics also analyse such questions professionally.

Can you come up with the right order of magnitude for STEM, how many percent of published articles never reach a single citation?

To accept the answer I have to see which assumptions and factors went into the estimation. I know publishing outstanding research is the safest way to get permanent position, but the question is how to balance the good/many publications ratio. And for this I find the answer to my question quite interesting. If there is a saturation limit in the current exponentially growing numbe of publications and also journals and when this might be reached, whom to collaborate with because he might have very different incentives...

  • 1
    Saturation limit ... I saw a study some years ago where they found that when a field gets too large, it subdivides itself into more specialized subfields. Most citations occur within the subfield, so the number of citations per paper will stay roughly constant. – GEdgar Feb 17 '19 at 12:57
  • @GEdgar This would mean that the average number of publications per researcher was, is and will be always stay roughly the same, which is very unlikely as it would mean efficiency, productivity, publishing pressure, collaboration rate in academia are also roughly constant. You can rule this out and therefor I don't understand why the question is not allowed. Maybe not interesting to others, but I see so much personal subjective advise Q&A here that I probably didn't grasp the concept of this website?! – user48953094 Feb 17 '19 at 13:23
  • 1
    As with your other recent question here, you seem to be asking a research question. Are you hoping others here will do the research to be able to answer it? That isn't the purpose of the site. – Buffy Feb 17 '19 at 14:25
  • @Buffy So why is the linked question allowed and my ones not? If someone wants to answer this, why not let him? Closing this question before he can just makes no sense to me seeing so many personal student situation questions here I find rather uninteresting to most other readers here. It's like homework questions on physics.se. I'm a physicist wondering about status quo of academia, both questions are important to me, but I don't deal with bibliometrics, I'm no expert in this. Doing googling/research to answer other questions on skeptics.se, history.se is the normal case!? Strange sub-site... – user48953094 Feb 17 '19 at 14:44
  • @MichaelSchmidt: The quick closing is one of the main features of this site. – user104541 Feb 17 '19 at 22:54