Unabashed Uncitedness

"To be an uncited scientist is no cause for shame." It needed to be said, and Eugene Garfield was the right person to say it [The Scientist, March 18, 1991, page 12]. When the news on uncited papers first came out, I immediately thought of the people it would hurt. Science now demands speedy, measurable success, and being uncited can be disastrous to one's career. Guilt should not be added to worry. An uncited paper may contribute to science. Someone thinks of idea n. Idea n+1 comes along even

Charles Mccutchen
Jun 9, 1991
"To be an uncited scientist is no cause for shame." It needed to be said, and Eugene Garfield was the right person to say it [The Scientist, March 18, 1991, page 12]. When the news on uncited papers first came out, I immediately thought of the people it would hurt. Science now demands speedy, measurable success, and being uncited can be disastrous to one's career. Guilt should not be added to worry.

An uncited paper may contribute to science. Someone thinks of idea n. Idea n+1 comes along eventually, and its discoverer is likely to cite idea n.

But what triggers the discovery of n+1? If it were idea n itself, idea n+1 would occur immediately after n. Something must be responsible: a textbook, a newspaper headline. It may have been an uncited article.

Over the years I have read many more articles than I cited. The time spent on...

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