Randomness of scientific impact

A group of researchers wondered if there was a trend or predictability for when a scientist’s most impactful work came about. It’s random.

[W]e studied the evolution of productivity and impact throughout thousands of scientific careers. We reconstructed the publication record of scientists from seven disciplines, connecting each paper with its long-term impact on the scientific community as quantified by citation metrics. We found that the highest-impact work in a scientist’s career is randomly distributed within her body of work. That is, the highest-impact work has the same probability of falling anywhere in the sequence of papers published by a scientist. It could be the first publication, appear mid-career, or emerge last. This result is known as the random impact rule.

An interactive visualization by Kim Albrecht lets you explore this randomness. Since the main point of the research is really that there is no clear pattern, that’s what you get.

The explainer video by Mauro Martino for Nature is also interesting:

Favorites

Watching the growth of Walmart – now with 100% more Sam’s Club

The ever so popular Walmart growth map gets an update, and yes, it still looks like a wildfire. Sam’s Club follows soon after, although not nearly as vigorously.

Pizza Place Geography

Most of the major pizza chains are within a 5-mile radius of where I live, so I have my pick, …

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2015

These are my picks for the best of 2015. As usual, they could easily appear in a different order on a different day, and there are projects not on the list that were also excellent.

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.