All downhill from the PhD? The typical impact trajectory of US academic careers
AbstractWithin academia, mature researchers tend to be more senior, but do they also tend to write higher impact articles? This article assesses long-term publishing (16+ years) United States (US) researchers, contrasting them with shorter-term publishing researchers (1, 6 or 10 years). A long-term US researcher is operationalised as having a first Scopus-indexed journal article in exactly 2001 and one in 2016-2019, with US main affiliations in their first and last articles. Researchers publishing in large teams (11+ authors) were excluded. The average field and year normalised citation impact of long- and shorter-term US researchers’ journal articles decreases over time relative to the national average, with especially large falls to the last articles published that may be at least partly due to a decline in self-citations. In many cases researchers start by publishing above US average citation impact research and end by publishing below US average citation impact research. Thus, research managers should not assume that senior researchers will usually write the highest impact papers.
CitationThelwall, M. and Fairclough, R. (2020) All downhill from the PhD? The typical impact trajectory of US academic careers, Quantitative Science Studies 1 (3), pp. 1334-1348. DOI: 10.1162/qss_a_00072
JournalQuantitative Science Studies
Description© 2020 The Authors. Published by MIT Press. This is an open access article available under a Creative Commons licence. The published version can be accessed at the following link on the publisher’s website: https://doi.org/10.1162/qss_a_00072.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/