Updated, 5 p.m.
Does your professor have their own Wikipedia page? Well congratulations!, a new study finds. That probably doesn’t mean anything important.
The Oxford University study, submitted for review to EPJ Data Science* late last week, found no meaningful correlation between an academic having their own entry on Wikipedia and being productive or prolific in their field. It also didn’t find a correlation between any major measure of Wikipedia success—the length of an entry, say, or the number of edits to that entry—and an academic’s prolificness.
In short, a scientist having their own Wikipedia entry means—to use a technical term—diddly squat.
To reach this conclusion, the study’s authors, Anna Samoilenko and Taha Yasseri, examined 400 biographical Wikipedia entries across four scientific disciplines: physics, biology, computer science, and “psychology and psychiatry.” They compared major metrics about those entries (such as page length) to the h-indexes of the researchers.
The h-index is an academic-specific measure, a way of measuring not just how many journal articles a researcher has written but how often each of those journal articles has been cited by other academics. By comparing an individual academic’s h-index to the average h-index for the field in which they work, you can understand how important an individual academic’s work is to their discipline. An important researcher’s work will be higher than the field’s average h-index.