Measuring the Magnitude of Research: John Day's Venture into Google Citations

By: Christine Wendling

Update: In March 2018, John Day reached over 20,000 citations!

In 2005, Jorge Hirsch created the Hirsch Index, or h-index, a metric that attempts to measure the productivity and impact of a scholar based on the scholar's most cited papers and the number of citations they have received in other publications. By these standards, John W. Day, Jr., professor emeritus in the Department of Oceanography and Social Sciences, has certainly measured up. chart 1: citations index, all vs since 2013

As of the time of this publication, Day has 19,887 citations and an h-index of 72, according to his Google Citations page, a remarkable achievement. He attributes this number to the fact that he has about 400 publications, an unusually high amount, and that he has worked on a broad range of subjects and written a number of synthesis articles with colleagues from around the world.

"I've published half a dozen articles in Science and Nature and those tend to be cited a lot as well," Day said.

His most cited publication is a textbook on estuarine ecology that is also often used as a general reference book and has about 1,700 citations, while his most cited article is about the status of deltas worldwide with nearly 900 citations. While Day thinks citations are a good way to measure his impact on the scientific community, it is not the only way. He also thinks it's important to make an impact on his students.

"I've been the major professor of 70 students. Most faculty members, even at the end of their career, if they've got 20, that's unusual. And, a lot of my students have gone on to be leaders in the next generation," Day said.

He believes so many students have sought him out to be their major professor because he doesn't try to force his students into a certain way of thinking.

"I do just the opposite, in fact. The best students always run way out in front of you and drag you along with them," Day said. chart 2: citations per year bar graph

For the most up-to-date information, view Day's Google Citations page here: