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HKU Libraries Blog

Research Intelligence@HKUL: Scholar's Insight

by Learning and Research Services HKUL on 2021-03-09T10:28:14+08:00 | Comments


Topic: Quantitative author inputs to STEM-subject research publications: results, insights and potential applications from a survey of Earth scientists

Date: 24 March 2021 (Wednesday)

Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Venue: Dual mode via Zoom and e-Learning Lab (G/F, Main Library)

Speaker: Dr. Jason R. Ali, Department of Earth Sciences, HKU


Pre-seminar survey:


Dr. Jason Ali will report what is believed to be the first survey of the quantitative contributions Earth scientists make to their research publications (with caveats, the findings should be applicable to many of the other STEM disciplines). Based on a return of 26 (from 45; 254 total documents), two key patterns are observed. For most articles, there is a steady decrease in the roles of the first through fifth authors. The former fall from 65 ± 14% for two-author outputs, to 52 ± 9% for five, to 46 ± 10% for ten; fifth authors are perceived as having contributed 5–6%. The term ‘balanced’ is used to describe such contributor lists. The second pattern, which is labelled ‘imbalanced’, is recognized with teams of five or more and involves the first author shouldering a disproportionately large amount of the work; consequently, the inputs of the third and lesser authors range from small to negligible (5–1%). In some cases, it is observed in a few of a researcher’s publications (≤ 3); in others, it is more pervasive. There are two basic explanations: estimation problems and excessive numbers of authors, which can be split into two and three subcategories, respectively. The key features of the survey data are dwelt upon. The presentation will conclude with an exploration of a proposed H-Index-type metric that is weighted by the contribution fractions a researcher makes to their publications. This, Dr. Ali contends, would be more reflective of their impact.


About the speaker:
Dr. Jason Ali is an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences and has been a member of HKU since 1997. Originally from the UK, he trained as a geologist/geophysicist. Currently, though, his research focus is ‘biogeography’, looking principally at the geo-physical processes that have controlled the distribution of life around the planet, a key target being the land animals on the marine islands. Previously, he worked on various regional-scale geological project including the India-Asia tectonic-plate collision; Emeishan large igneous province of southwest China; and the Permian breakup of Gondwana. Further back in time he was interested in Paleogene stratigraphy and the Paleogene time-scale; tectonic evolution of SE Asia and the West-SW Pacific; and the orientation of churches (Medieval structures in England and Wales, and the "Queen Anne" buildings [early 1700s] in London).


About Research Intelligence@HKUL series
Research Intelligence@HKUL series aims to offer a series of seminars on research matters targeted at students and staff who may be early career researchers.

For enquiries, please contact Learning and Research Services at

Learning and Research Services
The University of Hong Kong Libraries

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