Australia's Citation Laureates

A symposium on "Honouring excellence in Australian research" was hosted by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) at the Australian Academy of Sciences on 26 March 2001.

In a recent study by the ISI, citation rates were analysed for all papers in the ISI database, for the years 1981 to 1998. This study selected the 200 most highly cited papers for each year in each of 22 broad categories. It then identified Australian authors who had published more than six high-impact papers in science-related disciplines during this period. This study identified 33 top Australian scientists with multiple high-impact papers. Each of these scientists received a "Citation Laureate" award at the ISI symposium.

Remarkably, nine of the thirty-three top scientists identified in this study are astronomers. The high fraction of astronomers is a tribute to the excellence of astronomical research in Australia. The honoured astronomers were Prof Michael Bessell, Dr Matthew Colless, Prof Michael Dopita, Prof Ken Freeman, Prof Jeremy Mould, and Dr Bruce Peterson from the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the Australian National University; Dr Richard Manchester of the Australia Telescope National Facility; Prof Warrick Couch of the University of New South Wales; and Dr Richard Hunstead of the University of Sydney.

It was indeed a pleasure to be recognised in this way. Not surprisingly, all of my 11 high-impact papers were written with colleagues, and I sincerely thank them for their many and varied contributions to the work reported in these (and other!) papers. It is also reflects the excellent support from the CSIRO and especially from my colleagues and friends at the ATNF which makes this such a great place to work.

ISI invited the Laureates and various other "science" people to dinner at University House on the evening before the symposium. This was pleasant and it was interesting to meet and talk with some of the people from other fields. There were five Laureates from CSIRO. The symposium was held in the Shine Dome of the Australian Academy of Science. Talks were given by Mr Michael Tansey (President, Thomson Scientific & Healthcare), Honorable Warren Entsch, MP (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources) and Dr Geoff Garrett (CSIRO Chief Executive). Mr Jeff Clovis (Director, International Product Support, ISI) gave a global perspective of publishing trends and discussed their citation system and its scope. For the future, they see electronic publication becoming more and more important and are hoping to set up an ADS-like retrieval system for the whole of science. Linda Butler (Research School of Social Sciences, ANU), who has made several studies of citations and research performance in Australia, discussed the national perspective. Prof Graham Farquhar (Research School of Biological Sciences, ANU), who topped the poll with 22 high-impact papers, gave a talk from the perspective of a researcher. Mr Adam Klein (Vice President, Asia-Pacific Market Development, ISI) spoke on honouring reseach in Australia. Mr Michael Tansey then presented each of us with an engraved pewter plate to commemorate the occasion.

Dick Manchester