|This page documents an English Wikipedia notability guideline.|
It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply. Any substantive edit to this page should reflect consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
|This page in a nutshell: |
This guideline reflects consensus about the notability of academics as measured by their academic achievements. An academic is someone engaged in scholarly research or higher education; academic notability refers to being known for such engagement.
- Many academics have been faculty members (such as professors) at colleges or universities. Also, many academics have held research positions at academic research institutes (such as NIH, CNRS, etc.). However, academics may also work outside academia and their primary job does not need to be academic if they are known for their academic achievements. Conversely, if they are notable for their primary job, they do not need to be notable academics to warrant an article.
- School teachers at the secondary education level, sometimes also called professors, are not presumed to be academics. They may only be considered academics for the purposes of this guideline if they are engaged in substantial scholarly research and are known for such research. If not, they are evaluated by the usual rules for notability in their profession.
- See professor for more information about academic ranks and their meanings. Note that academic ranks are different in different countries.
This guideline is independent from the other subject-specific notability guidelines, such as WP:BIO, WP:MUSIC, WP:AUTH, etc., and is explicitly listed as an alternative to the general notability guideline. It is possible for an academic not to be notable under the provisions of this guideline but to be notable in some other way under the general notability guideline or one of the other subject-specific notability guidelines. Conversely, failure to meet either the general notability guideline or other subject-specific notability guidelines is irrelevant if an academic is notable under this guideline.
Academics meeting any one of the following conditions, as substantiated through reliable sources, are notable. Academics meeting none of these conditions may still be notable if they meet the conditions of WP:BIO or other notability criteria. The merits of an article on the academic will depend largely on the extent to which it is verifiable. Before applying these criteria, see the General notes and Specific criteria notes sections, which follow.
- The person's research has had a significant impact in their scholarly discipline, broadly construed, as demonstrated by independent reliable sources.
- The person has received a highly prestigious academic award or honor at a national or international level.
- The person has been an elected member of a highly selective and prestigious scholarly society or association (e.g., a National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society) or a fellow of a major scholarly society which reserves fellow status as a highly selective honor (e.g., Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).
- The person's academic work has made a significant impact in the area of higher education, affecting a substantial number of academic institutions.
- The person has held a named chair appointment or distinguished professor appointment at a major institution of higher education and research, or an equivalent position in countries where named chairs are uncommon.
- The person has held a highest-level elected or appointed administrative post at a major academic institution or major academic society.
- The person has had a substantial impact outside academia in their academic capacity.
- The person has been the head or chief editor of a major, well-established academic journal in their subject area.
- An article's assertion that the subject passes this guideline is not sufficient. Every topic on Wikipedia must have sources that comply with Wikipedia:Verifiability. Major awards must be confirmed, claims of impact must be substantiated by independent statements, reviews, citation metrics, or library holdings, and so on.
- Once the passage of one or more notability criteria has been verified through independent sources, or through the reliable sources listed explicitly for this purpose in the specific criteria notes, non-independent sources, such as official institutional and professional sources, are widely accepted as reliable sourcing for routine, uncontroversial details.
- The criteria above are sometimes summed up as an "Average Professor Test": When judged against the average impact of a researcher in a given field, does this researcher stand out as clearly more notable or more accomplished?
- Note that this is a guideline and not a rule; exceptions may exist. Some academics may not meet any of these criteria, but may still be notable for their academic work. It is very difficult to make clear requirements in terms of number/quality of publications. The criteria, in practice, vary greatly by field and are determined by precedent and consensus. Also, this guideline sets the bar fairly low, which is natural; to a degree, academics live in the public arena, trying to influence others with their ideas. It is natural that successful ones should be considered notable.
Specific criteria notes
1. The person's research has made significant impact in their scholarly discipline, broadly construed, as demonstrated by independent reliable sources. See also notes to Criterion 2, some of which apply to Criterion 1 as well.
- The most typical way of satisfying Criterion 1 is to show that the academic has been an author of highly cited academic work – either several extremely highly cited scholarly publications or a substantial number of scholarly publications with significant citation rates. Reviews of the person's work, published in selective academic publications, can be considered together with ordinary citations here. Differences in typical citation and publication rates and in publication conventions between different academic disciplines should be taken into account.
- To count towards satisfying Criterion 1, citations need to occur in peer-reviewed scholarly publications such as journals or academic books.
- In some disciplines there are review publications that review virtually all refereed publications in that discipline. For example, in mathematics, Mathematical Reviews, also known as MathSciNet, and Zentralblatt MATH fall into that category. The mere fact that an article or a book is reviewed in such a publication does not serve towards satisfying Criterion 1. However, the content of the review and any evaluative comments made there may be used for that purpose.
- Generally, more experimental and applied subjects tend to have higher publication and citation rates than more theoretical ones. Publication and citation rates in humanities are generally lower than in sciences. Also, in sciences, most new original research is published in journals and conference proceedings whereas in humanities book publications tend to play a larger role (and are harder to count without access to offline libraries). The meaning of "substantial number of publications" and "high citation rates" is to be interpreted in line with the interpretations used by major research institutions in determining the qualifications for the awarding of tenure.
- Criterion 1 can also be satisfied if the person has pioneered or developed a significant new concept, technique or idea, made a significant discovery or solved a major problem in their academic discipline. In this case it is necessary to explicitly demonstrate, by a substantial number of references to academic publications of researchers other than the person in question, that this contribution is indeed widely considered to be significant and is widely attributed to the person in question.
- The publication of an anniversary or memorial journal volume or a Festschrift dedicated to a particular person is usually enough to satisfy Criterion 1, except in the case of publication in vanity, fringe, or non-selective journals or presses.
- There are other considerations that may be used as contributing factors (usually not sufficient individually) towards satisfying Criterion 1: significant academic awards and honors (see below); service on editorial boards of scholarly publications; publications in especially prestigious and selective academic journals; publication of collected works; special conferences dedicated to honor academic achievements of a particular person; naming of academic awards or lecture series after a particular person; and others.
- For the purposes of partially satisfying Criterion 1, significant academic awards and honors may include, for example: major academic awards (they would also automatically satisfy Criterion 2), highly selective fellowships (other than postdoctoral fellowships); invited lectures at meetings of national or international scholarly societies, where giving such an invited lecture is considered considerably more prestigious than giving an invited lecture at typical national and international conferences in that discipline; named lectures or named lecture series; awards by notable academic and scholarly societies; honorary degrees; and others. Ordinary colloquia and seminar talks and invited lectures at scholarly conferences, standard research grants, named post-doctoral fellowships, visiting appointments, or internal university awards are insufficient for this purpose.
- For the purposes of satisfying Criterion 1, the academic discipline of the person in question needs to be sufficiently broadly construed. Major disciplines, such as physics, mathematics, history, political science, or their significant subdisciplines (e.g., particle physics, algebraic geometry, medieval history, fluid mechanics, cancer genetics are valid examples). Overly narrow and highly specialized categories should be avoided. Arguing that someone is an expert in an extremely narrow area of study is, in and of itself, not necessarily sufficient to satisfy Criterion 1, except for the actual leaders in those subjects.
- Simply having authored a large number of published academic works is not considered sufficient to satisfy Criterion 1.
- Having an object (asteroid, process, manuscript, etc.) named after the subject is not in itself indicative of satisfying Criterion 1.
- Having a small collaboration distance from a famous or notable academic (e.g., having a small Erdős number) is not, in and of itself, indicative of satisfying Criterion 1.
2. The person has received a highly prestigious academic award or honor at a national or international level.
- For the purposes of Criterion 2, major academic awards, such as the Nobel Prize, MacArthur Fellowship, the Fields Medal, the Bancroft Prize, the Pulitzer Prize for History, etc., always qualify under Criterion 2. Some less significant academic honors and awards that confer a high level of academic prestige can also be used to satisfy Criterion 2. Examples may include certain awards, honors and prizes of notable academic societies, of notable foundations and trusts (e.g., the Guggenheim Fellowship, Linguapax Prize), etc. Significant academic awards and honors can also be used to partially satisfy Criterion 1 (see item 4 above in this section).
- For documenting that a person has won a specific award (but not for a judgement of whether or not that award is prestigious), publications of the awarding institution are considered a reliable source.
- Victories in academic student competitions at the high school and university level as well as other awards and honors for academic student achievements (at either high school, undergraduate or graduate level) do not qualify under Criterion 2 and do not count towards partially satisfying Criterion 1.
- Biographical listings in and awards from vanity press publishers, such as the American Biographical Institute, or from publications incorporating a substantial vanity press element in their business model, such as Marquis Who's Who, do not qualify for satisfying Criterion 2 or for partially satisfying Criterion 1.
3. The person has been an elected member of a highly selective and prestigious scholarly society or association (e.g., a National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society) or a Fellow of a major scholarly society for which that is a highly selective honor (e.g., the IEEE).
- For the purposes of Criterion 3, elected memberships in minor and non-notable societies are insufficient (most newly formed societies fall into that category).
- For documenting that a person has been elected member or fellow (but not for a judgement of whether or not that membership/fellowship is prestigious), publications of the electing institution are considered a reliable source.
4. The person's academic work has made a significant impact in the area of higher education, affecting a substantial number of academic institutions.
- Criterion 4 may be satisfied, for example, if the person has authored several books that are widely used as textbooks (or as a basis for a course) at multiple institutions of higher education.
5. The person has held a named chair appointment or "Distinguished Professor" appointment at a major institution of higher education and research (or an equivalent position in countries where named chairs are uncommon).
- For documenting that a person has held such an appointment (but not for a judgement of whether or not the institution is a major one), publications of the appointing institution are considered a reliable source.
- Criterion 5 can be applied reliably only for persons who are tenured at the full professor level, and not for junior faculty members with endowed appointments.
- Major institutions, for these purposes, are those that have a reputation for excellence or selectivity. Named chairs at other institutions are not necessarily sufficient to establish notability.
6. The person has held a highest-level elected or appointed administrative post at a major academic institution or major academic society.
- For documenting that a person has held such a post (but not for a judgement of whether or not the institution or society is a major one), publications of the institution where the post is held are considered a reliable source.
- Criterion 6 may be satisfied, for example, if the person has held the post of president or chancellor (or vice-chancellor in countries where this is the top academic post) of a significant accredited college or university, director of a highly regarded, notable academic independent research institute or center (which is not a part of a university), president of a notable national or international scholarly society, etc.
- Lesser administrative posts (provost, dean, department chair, etc.) are generally not sufficient to qualify under Criterion 6 alone, although exceptions are possible on a case-by-case basis (e.g., being a Provost of a major university may sometimes qualify).
- Heads of institutes and centers devoted to promoting pseudo-science and marginal or fringe theories are generally not covered by Criterion 6; they may still be notable under other criteria of this guideline or under the general WP:BIO or WP:N guidelines.
7. The person has made substantial impact outside academia in their academic capacity.
- Criterion 7 may be satisfied, for example, if the person is frequently quoted in conventional media as an academic expert in a particular area. A small number of quotations, especially in local news media, is not unexpected for academics and so falls short of this mark.
- Criterion 7 may also be satisfied if the person has authored widely popular general audience books on academic subjects provided the author is widely regarded inside academia as a well-established academic expert and provided the books deal with that expert's field of study. Books on pseudo-science and marginal or fringe scientific theories are generally not covered by this criterion; their authors may still be notable under other criteria of this guideline or under the general WP:BIO or WP:N guidelines.
- Patents, commercial and financial applications are generally not indicative of satisfying Criterion 7.
8. The person has been head or chief editor of a major well-established academic journal in their subject area.
- For documenting that a person has held such a position (but not for a judgement of whether or not the journal is a major well-established one), publications of the journal or its publishers are considered a reliable source.
- Journals dedicated to promoting pseudo-science and marginal or fringe theories are generally not covered by Criterion 8. However, their head editor may still be notable under other criteria of this guideline or under the general WP:BIO or WP:N guidelines.
The only reasonably accurate way of finding citations to journal articles in most subjects is to use one of the two major citation indexes, Web of Science and Scopus. Scopus covers the sciences and the social sciences, but is very incomplete before 1996; Web of Science may cover the sciences back to 1900, the social sciences back to 1956, and the humanities (very incompletely) back to 1975, but only the largest universities can afford the entire set. (Fortunately, additional citation indexes with public access are being developed.) These databases are furthermore incomplete especially for the less developed countries. Additionally, they list citations only from journal articles – citations from articles published in books or other publications are not included. For that reason, these databases should be used with caution for disciplines such as computer science in which conference or other non-journal publication is essential, or humanistic disciplines where book publication is most important. Web of Science provides a free index of highly cited researchers, which may be of some value. In individual scientific fields, MathSciNet, SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts), and similar disciplinary indexes are also valuable resources, often specifically listing citation counts, but access to them is also not free and usually requires a university computer account.
- A caution about Google Scholar: Google Scholar works well for fields where all (or nearly all) respected venues have an online presence. Most papers written by a computer scientist will show up, but for less technologically up-to-date fields, it is dicey. For non-scientific subjects, it is especially dicey. Many journals, additionally, do not permit Google Scholar to list their articles. For books, the coverage in Google Scholar is partly through Google Book Search, and is very strongly influenced by publisher's permissions and policies. Thus, the absence of references in Google Scholar should not be used as proof of non-notability. In the other direction, GS includes sources that are not peer-reviewed, such as academic web sites and other self-published sources. It has also been criticized for not vetting journals and including predatory journals. Thus, the number of citations found there can sometimes be significantly more than the number of actual citations from truly reliable scholarly material. In essence, it is a rough guide only.
- A caution about PubMed: Medline, now usually accessed as part of PubMed, is a well-established broadly based search engine, covering much of biology and all of medicine, published since 1967 and sometimes even earlier. It includes a few journals in medically related clinical subjects, but is not complete in those. Further, not all articles in PubMed are from peer-reviewed journals, as it includes medical news sources of various degrees of quality, including such items in peer-reviewed journals it does cover. It also exhaustively covers letters to the editor and similar material, not all of which is of any significance.
- A caution about "related articles": In PubMed, and most other databases, "related articles" are not articles that necessarily cite the original; they are articles on the same general topic, usually selected by having title words or citations in common. Some may cite the original (and some clearly do not, for they will have been published before the articles in question). They are useful for finding additional papers on a subject, which is the purpose for which they were designed. The only way to count citations using such a listing in, for example, PubMed, is the tedious method of looking at every one of the related articles published after the article in question, finding its "cited article" display, and check if it is there. (Some PubMed records do not list cited articles, for a variety of reasons.) Nor will such a listing necessarily include all the citations. – Help for "Related articles" feature
- Citation measures such as the h-index, g-index, etc., are of limited usefulness in evaluating whether Criterion 1 is satisfied. They should be approached with caution because their validity is not, at present, completely accepted, and they may depend substantially on the citation database used. They are also discipline-dependent; some disciplines have higher average citation rates than others.
- For scholars in humanities the existing citation indices and Google Scholar often provide inadequate and incomplete information. (Google Scholar is not totally irrelevant in many cases, for it now does include citations to books--it's worth a look). In these fields one can also look at how widely the person's books are held in various academic libraries (this information is available in Worldcat) when evaluating whether Criterion 1 is satisfied.
- A report from the association of European computer science departments lists ten bullet points for evaluation of computer science research, two of which emphasize the importance of non-journal publication and one of which specifically cautions against the use of Web of Science. Instead, it recommends Google Scholar or Citeseer for this field.
- ^ From Wikipedia:Notability, emphasis added: "A topic is presumed to merit an article if (1) It meets either the general notability guideline below, or the criteria outlined in a subject-specific guideline listed in the box on the right," which includes this document, "and (2) It is not excluded under the What Wikipedia is not policy."
- ^ "Identifying Academic Journals" (PDF). The University of New England. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- ^ Kolata, Gina (30 October 2017). "Many Academics Are Eager to Publish in Worthless Journals". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- ^ Meyer, Bertrand; Choppy, Christine; Staunstrup, Jørgen; van Leeuwen, Jan (2009), "Research Evaluation for Computer Science", Communications of the ACM, 52 (4): 31–34, doi:10.1145/1498765.1498780, S2CID 8625066.