Highly Cited

What are the most frequently-cited articles published by Davidson professors?

Who has published the most articles and book reviews?

Which journals have published the greatest number of articles by Davidson faculty and staff?

Rankings are loved and loathed in higher education; we use them and criticize them in equal measure. Libraries are not exempt from this. Academic libraries compare budgets, collections, and services, and within individual libraries, we track usage, mark trends, and set measures using data.

Libraries also subscribe to databases that, among other things, classify, track, and rank citations to scholarly publications. In other words, we are victims of the ranking system… and enablers.

Rankings are enticing. They are like the displays of glossy magazines near supermarket check-outs: you can’t help but look at them, even if you don’t want to “buy” and are skeptical of the message and marketing strategies.

You really do want to know which articles have been most frequently cited, don’t you?

Well, one of our largest databases, Web of Knowledge, makes it easy. Web of Knowledge is actually a collection of databases; its core is Web of Science, which contains the original citation indices. Coverage starts in 1900, and, while it can’t claim to contain information about every published scholarly work, Web of Knowledge, with its component databases, indexes over 18,700 scholarly journals.  While you can also track number of citations in Google Scholar, PubMed, and other large databases, the analysis tools in Web of Knowledge are particularly easy to use.

Understand that the database, while large, doesn’t index every single journal and article published, that, while it contains citations to books, it focuses primarily on articles, that it covers some fields better than others, that citations patters differ in different disciplines, and that citations are simply that: citations and not complete measures of use.1

Here are some results of data from Web of Knowledge.

Number of times that works by Davidson authors have been cited

Articles and publications by Davidson faculty and staff have been cited over 9,000 times. (Excluding self-citations, they have been cited over 8,100 times.)

Most heavily-cited articles by Davidson professors (excluding retirees and those no longer working at the college):

Top journals containing articles published by Davidson faculty and staff:

  • French Review
  • Library Journal
  • Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society
  • American Historical Review
  • Church History
  • Sixteenth Century Journal
  • Modern Language Journal
  • Journal of Southern History
  • Journal of American History
  • Molecular Biology of the Cell

Ranking of years, by number of publications by Davidson authors published in the year:

  • 2011: approx. 107 publications
  • 2012: approx. 95 publications
  • 1999: approx. 91 publications
  • 2008: approx. 85 publications
  • 2009: approx. 82 publications

Top research areas of the works included in Web of Knowledge and published by Davidson faculty and staff, ranked by number of publications:

  • Literature: 311
  • History: 293
  • Philosophy: 163
  • Religion: 154
  • Chemistry: 150


Top funding agencies, ranked by number of articles by Davidson faculty who acknowledged funding sources in their articles:

  • Davidson College: 48
  • National Science Foundation: 38
  • National Institutes of Health: 21
  • Duke Endowment: 16
  • Duke Power: 14
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute: 13
  • Department of Energy: 11


Top ten current Davidson faculty and staff authors. These are people who have published the most articles and reviews in publications indexed by Web of Knowledge.
(In reverse chronological order)

10. Sally McMillen
9. Scott Tonidandel
8. Russ Crandall
7. Dan Boye
6. Catherine Slawy-Sutton
5. Felix Carroll
4. Robin Barnes
3. Mike Dorcas
2. Homer Sutton

… and the number one published author is: the library’s own Jan Blodgett, our College Archivist. Jan is a regular contributor of reviews for Library Journal.

Want to know who’s citing your work?

Learn more about Web of Knowledge by checking out our Web of Knowledge tips & tricks guide, which contains links to help pages, short video tutorials, and more.

1 Measuring actual usage is a challenge, but researchers are exploring other measures beyond citation patterns and impact factors. In 2013, for example, Stephen Davis published an independent report on his study of “Journal Usage Half-Life“; that is, he gathered data related to article downloads from publishers’ Web sites and then analyzed the data to determine the median age of journal articles in several disciplines. While a download does not necessarily equal a “read” or “use,” it does reflect usage beyond citations, since scholars consult many more articles than they actually cite in their final works. “Journal half-life” has implications for studying student research patterns as well.

About Susanna Boylston

Collection Development Librarian[Read More...]