What’s My Kardashian Index?

28 09 2014

Kim Kardashian West, Parramatta Westfield Sydney Australia – 15218956411CC BY-SA 2.0 Photo by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer

From a recent post by Peter Klein, I’ve learned of the existence of something called the Kardashian Index.

Biologist Neil Hall made a bit of a splash a few months back by introducing the Kardashian Index, basically the ratio of an academic researcher’s Twitter followers to citations in peer-reviewed journals. (For a rough approximation, just divide Twitter followers by Google Scholar cites.) Someone with a very high K-index, the story goes, has a large popular following, but hasn’t made any important scientific contributions — in other words, like Kim, famous for being famous.

I’m afraid that my Kardashian Index may be a bit higher than it should be. I’m fairly prominent in the academic blogosphere, but my Google Scholar citation count suggests that my research hasn’t made a massive impact yet.

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