New Metrics for Publication Statistics

Arnold Rots (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), Winkelman, Sherry L. (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)
Becker, Glenn (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)


We are proposing several new publication metrics that are more meaningful and less sensitive to observatory-specific characteristics than the traditional ones. They fall into three main categories: speed of publication; fraction of observing time published; and archival usage. Citation of results is a fourth category, but it lends itself less well to definite statements.

Fraction of observing time published: percentage of observing time presented in refereed journal articles, taken after approximately three times the median time.

Speed of publication: median time it takes for observations to get published; time it takes to reach the stable percentage above.

Archival usage: median time after observation for publications subsequent to the first; percentage of observing time presented more than twice in refereed journal articles; percentage of available exposure time published in a given year.

Applied to the bibliography of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the median time from observation to publication is 2.36 years; after about seven years 90% of the observing time is published; the total annual publication output of the mission is 60-70% of the
cumulative observing time available, assuming a two year lag between data retrieval and publication; and after seven years approximately 60% of available exposure time is published more than twice.

This work has been supported by NASA under contract NAS 8-03060 to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for operation of the Chandra X-ray Center.

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