From my social circle and from google scholar I learn that sometimes a trendy work with very less scientific depth gets more citations compare to a less trendy work with high scientific depth.
So the question is how to determine the quality and reputation of a researcher?

  • 5
    Note that quality and reputation are not at all the same thing. The way you determine the quality of an academic's work is to study it and evaluate it...pretty much the same way you determine the quality of anything, in my experience. If you don't have the time or expertise to do that, you can look for other things that are correlated with quality to a greater or lesser degree. – Pete L. Clark Mar 10 '17 at 3:46
  • 1
    @MBK Of course. That's why in the CV/applications etc. one sees and judges the publications rather than the citations (which are rarely mentioned, at least in TCS). Keep in mind that citations take few years to appear as people discover your work. Also the more specialized your work, usually the more deep it is and the less citations will receive (due to specialization). – PsySp Mar 10 '17 at 8:20
  • 3
    @PeteL.Clark Agree. The best way is to judge by reading it. But a "famous" paper has more chances to come into your attention and even then it's a subjective metric of quality. Objective metrics usually correspond to the quality of the journal/conference. A FOCS paper is 99% of high quality, even if it receives in the next years very few citations, and this can happen for many reasons. – PsySp Mar 10 '17 at 8:21
  • 1
    @MBK depends on how the PI ranks their work. In that case I suspect that the PI would be in a better place judging, based on subjective criteria. My feeling is that higher quality journals are a better ticket for academic jobs. It definitely demonstrates certain capabilities: citations might be matter of luck. Publishing to highly prestigious venues is not. All being equal, then maybe citations come into play. – PsySp Mar 10 '17 at 8:47
  • 1
    @MBK That's why, at least in my field, Impact Factors (which are based on citations) of journal mean virtually nothing. – PsySp Mar 10 '17 at 8:50

Quality is not easy to define in general and this is even harder when it comes to scientific work or even scientists. One may say that any judgment of quality is subjective and hence, as Pete L. Clark suggested, you have to form an opinion yourself, e.g. by reading the articles/books or listening to talks if you have the chance. You may also ask colleagues about their opinion to help you to form your own opinion. To see that quality is subjective: The formulation of your question suggests that for you, high quality work has to have some "scientific depths". For other people "high quality" may mean "great and simple ideas" (which may not be too deep, after all).

Reputation, on the other hand, is something that is more related to a community, so you can get a good impression of someones reputation if you ask colleagues who are in business for some time. To see that quality and reputation are not the same thing you may get a response like "He/she has a good reputation in the field but I do not like his/her work very much."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.