12-12 Best Paper awards MST23

[Image above] John Mauro, center, editor-in-chief of Journal of the American Ceramic Society, presents Emanuel Ionescu of TU Darmstadt, left, and Balaya Palani of National University of Singapore, right, with ACerS Journals Best Paper awards at ACerS Annual Meeting at MS&T23 for their papers published in International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology. Credit: ACerS

Measuring research impact is challenging, to say the least. Many metrics used to estimate impact, such as journal impact factor or author h-index, are simple numerical values that can be influenced by factors unrelated to scientific merit. As a result, groups such as cOAlition S, JISC (U.K.), and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Education are developing policies and processes for evaluating research impact in in a more balanced manner, keeping with the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment.

The need to improve metrics for evaluating research impact is becoming even more important with the growing number of authors in total and on average for each individual published article, as illustrated by a 2016 paper published in PLOS Biology.

In that paper, Stanford University professor John Ioannidis and colleagues explored multiple citation indicators that address total impact, co-author adjustment, position of author in authorship list. They evaluated top scientists across 22 scientific fields using six citation indicators and developed a composite score that combines the six indicators.

Unsurprisingly, the authors found that each researcher’s status depended upon which indicator was chosen. For example, “Many Nobel laureates and other influential scientists rank among the top 1,000 with the composite indicator but rank much lower based on total citations. Conversely, many of the top 1,000 authors on total citations had no single/first/last-authored cited paper,” the authors write.

Though no method can unequivocally identify all the “best” scientists, considering the multiple indicators and their composites collectively provides a more comprehensive picture of each researcher’s impact than considering each indicator individually. For this reason, Ioannidis et al. have regularly published rankings based on this collective approach in publicly available databases, with the most recent update available here.

The rankings reveal some surprising trends. Specifically, the ceramic and glass community has a substantial impact given the size of this community relative to much larger fields, such as biomedicine and physics.

ACerS Fellows, such as Yuri Gogotsi, and Distinguished Life Members, such as the late luminaries Anthony Evans and Larry Hench, are highly ranked among all the researchers on the career impact list. When considering only “Materials” researchers, 17 of the top 25 career high-impact researchers are contributors to ACerS journals, many of them frequent contributors.

When considering only recent years for impact, ACerS journal authors are once more among the most highly ranked. In rankings based solely upon metrics for the year 2022, 17 of the top 25 most impactful materials researchers published in ACerS journals.

In an email, Michel Barsoum, ACerS Fellow and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University, noted that “for a small society that is great impact.” Barsoum, who has authored 50 papers in ACerS publications, is ranked third among materials researchers and 124 among all researchers in all disciplines based on 2022 impact.