# Spires 2007 topcite list is posted

Science Advisor
Gold Member
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## Main Question or Discussion Point

http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2007/annual.shtml

Each year we have been consulting the Spires topcite list to gauge the quality or importance of recent string research, as judged by the research community itself. By recent is meant the last five years, up to and including the year in question.

This year only one recent string paper made the top 50 list. It was published in 2003 and was the one Kachru Kallosh Linde Trivedi---the famous KKLT paper introducing the Landscape of some 10500 vacua.

In 2007, KKLT was cited 225 times.

This is the last year that the KKLT paper will make it into the 5-year "recent" window: 2003-2007.
Next year the window will be 2004-2008 and it will no longer count as recent, according to the system we've been using.

The makeup of the Top Fifty has changed considerably over the years since, say, 2002. Just for comparison, i will call up the same list for 2002----where recent means published in 1998-2002

http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2002/annual.shtml

I see that in 2002, there were ten recent string papers that made the Top Fifty. The number of times each was cited in 2002 was, respectively: 464, 426, 390, 329, 293, 285, 243, 199, 167, 159.

=========================
In case anyone is interested there is also a separate top 50 list where the competition is restricted to articles posted in ARXIV hep-th.
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2007/eprints/to_hep-th_annual.shtml
The top ten recent string papers on that list garnered the following numbers of cites in 2007:
226, 142, 99, 83, 69, 57, 48, 44, 42, 42.

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## Answers and Replies

Related Beyond the Standard Model News on Phys.org
PhysiSmo
Counting the papers per year, one arrives at the following list:

2007 - 3
2006 - 5
2005 - 2
2004 - 3
2003 - 6
.
.
.
2002 - 1
2001 - 2
2000 - 3
1999 - 4
1998 - 8
1997 - 1
1996 - 1
.
.
1990 - 1
1989 - 2
1988 - 1
.
.
1981 - 1
1977 - 1
1976 - 1
1973 - 2
.
.
1955 - 1

I think I missed one but I'm too tired to check it again. There exist 19 papers in the last 5 years, including reviews and observational data. Indeed, the quality of recent research in string theory is somewhat poor, if one takes into account the list above.

What makes me sad, is that by acquiring such a perspective, the quality of recent research is somewhat poor. It's not just string theory, theoretical physics needs some fresh ideas to boost the research. I keep hearing that theoretical physics is at its worst phase. Too bad that the standard approaches in various projects - i.e. the monopoly, call it string theory, LQG, inflation, don't care - leave no air for young minds to experiment with new concepts and ideas..

Haelfix
Science Advisor
I count quite a lot of stringy stuff still. Mostly ADS/CFT and large extra dimension scenarios, the rest is dominated by WMAP/dark energy/astrophysics papers. Pretty much the entirety of the top cited papers are older and nothing recent is heavily cited (i'd imagine Georgi's unparticle physics will crack the top 50 soon though).

Pretty much to be expected though. Theoretical particle physics is pretty much stalled around the globe waiting for the LHC. Pretty much everyone is working on what implications can be derived for their favorite scenarios.

Science Advisor
Gold Member
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I'm pleased to see others share my interest in research stats!
As an index of how research in the field is going, I'll look at lists for five successive years, and total the cites to the top four recent stringy papers.
These will be the top 50 lists where the competition is restricted to articles posted in hep-th. It means that string papers will be better represented because we wont have to be including highly cited astro-ph papers.

for 2003 the cites to the top four recent (1999-2003) papers total
396+367+297+200 = 1230

for 2004 cites to recent (2000-2004) papers total
192+188+183+149 = 712

for 2005 cites to recent (2001-2005) total
226+171+143+109 = 649

for 2006
238+150+127+109 = 624

for 2007
226+142 99+83 = 550

Here are the Spires sources, in case anyone wants to help by checking my arithmetic.

http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2003/eprints/to_hep-th_annual.shtml
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2004/eprints/to_hep-th_annual.shtml
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2005/eprints/to_hep-th_annual.shtml
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2006/eprints/to_hep-th_annual.shtml
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2007/eprints/to_hep-th_annual.shtml

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Yeah these indices that marcus comes up with are mostly useless...

I think it's still impressive that AdS/CFT has something like 500 citations almost ten years after it's published. I think that it's more of a sign that these are hard problems.

Science Advisor
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The number of times that string theorists cite a given paper gives some indication of how interesting or valuable they find it---whether it develops something original that they can use to further their own research.

The nice thing about the Spires lists is they are prepared every year according to the same recipe. So I can extract a number the same way from each year's list and look for a trend.
Since some people are obviously excited by this, judging by comments, I've gone back a year earlier, to 2002. The total was 1304

What we are plotting, obviously, is declining interest of string theorists in their own recent research output.

This could have several different causes. It might be that the quality of the research has declined. So the research done in 2004-2006 is just not as original, interesting or enlightening as that done earlier, say in 1998-2000. Or it could be that they are just writing less, so they are citing less. But the decline in citations seems to be focused on RECENT work--work published in the five years prior to the year we are looking at.

It is an interesting trend, one that i heard a Sunday Times of London science reporter comment on back in Fall 2006, as one of the most significant indicators of what has been happening with string.

Anyway I will summarize the data again:

Number of cites garnered in a given year by the top four recent string papers
Code:
Year    Total Cites
2002    1304
2003    1230
2004     712
2005     649
2006     624
2007     550
In each case these are from the Spires list of hep-th papers.

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What we are plotting, obviously, is declining interest of string theorists in their own recent research output.
Or the fact that AdS/CFT is a huge idea.

Or the fact that more people are interested in different things.

Or the fact that more people aer doing phenomenology.

Or ...

Man marcus...you should work for the Bush administration.

There were more non-sequiturs there than in Colin Powell's address to the UN.

Science Advisor
Gold Member
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The Spires database is still assembling the topcites lists. Over the course of the next weeks we will be able to get a more complete picture. What is shown here is just for the HEP-TH list. The phenomenology (hep-ph) list is not yet ready.

Judging by past years, I doubt it will make any substantial difference in the picture.
Number of cites garnered in a given year by the top four recent string papers
Code:
Year    Total Cites
2002    1304
2003    1230
2004     712
2005     649
2006     624
2007     550
One way to include phenomenology is to look at the overall topcites list, and compare two years. The list includes all HEP categories: theory, phenomenology, experimental etc etc. It is prepared the same way for each year.

If we take the recent stringy papers making the top 50 in 2002, there are ten of them and their citations total 2955.

If we do the corresponding thing for 2007, we find that one paper made the top 50, for a total of 225.

This includes phenomenology. It is a striking decline in citations, by over a factor of ten.
====================

This is not exactly news, at Physics Forums we already noted the decline in citations to recent string papers back in 2003-2004. It seemed then to be a symptom of the Landscape malaise. 2003 was the year the KKLT paper came out and Susskind began promoting the Anthropic Principle as a cure for the Landscape quandary. Confusion seemed to take hold, which was evident during the open discussion at Toronto Strings '05.
In fact the above table shows the sharpest drop in citations still to be between 2003 and 2004.
Basically what we are doing is watching to see if trends that began 5 or so years ago are still in place. Hopefully as more Spires lists become available we can fill out the picture for 2007.

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Well one cannot make it right for you guys. When most people work on a single or few subjects, the papers get high numbers of citations and you complain about fashion driven physics. When people work on a large diversity of subjects, such as it is now, then you see a decline in their field.

When due to some fluctuation at some day there are fewer papers on hep-th, you tout a decline as well; when next day there is an abundance of papers, you keep silent.

What you do here is completely meaningless and misleading; as are your analyses of the "impact" of Smolin's book, etc; as if book buying habits of the general public would in any way reflect the scientific value of a field of research.

Better spent your time in actually studying papers and educating yourself in a scientific manner, rather than trying to read the secrets of the universe in a mug of coffee, so-to-say...

Demystifier
Science Advisor
Gold Member
Marcus, if you want to be objective, why (for comparison) don't you post also the number of cites garnered in a given year by the top four recent LQG papers? After all your main research interest is LQG, not string theory.

Science Advisor
Gold Member
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Marcus, if you want to be objective, why (for comparison) don't you post also the number of cites garnered in a given year by the top four recent LQG papers? After all your main research interest is LQG, not string theory.
Hi Demy, In fact i am an interested watcher of research of nonstring QG, and i am waiting for the relevant Spires lists to come out! I don't care which way the trend is---up down I will report it!
What I'm watching in that department are especially quantum cosmology (LQC for example), the Utrecht triangulations approach (CDT), and the new spinfoam vertex.

You seem to be suggesting that I dig up some citation numbers and I'm pleased to be urged to provide them. It's harder to get numbers here because they are smaller. You can't just go to a "top 50" list. But I will see what I can do.

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Science Advisor
Gold Member
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Demy you inspired me!
I decided to do some objective comparison between string and non-string in Quantum Cosmology, so I went to Spires and tried three commands using citation count sorting.

FIND K QUANTUM COSMOLOGY AND DATE >1997 AND NOT DATE > 2002
FIND K QUANTUM COSMOLOGY AND DATE >2000 AND NOT DATE > 2005
FIND K QUANTUM COSMOLOGY AND DATE >2003 AND NOT DATE > 2008

In each case I took the top ten, the most highly cited papers, grouped them into LQC, stringy, and other. And totaled the cites.

Code:
publication    LQC     string     other
1998-2002     366      2168       168
2001-2005     802       790          0
2004-2008     685       188          0
In this kind of search Spires doesn't give numbers of cites year by year, but only the lifetime total so far. Some of the 2004-2008 papers have not had time to be cited and more will come in, so those numbers can be expected to grow. However one can look for comparative shifts. Here are the numbers of papers that made it into the top ten, in each category

Code:
publication    LQC     string     other
1998-2002       3         5          2
2001-2005       5         5          0
2004-2008       7         3          0
I think (correct me if you see any mistake in reasoning) the immediate conclusion is that in Quantum Cosmology,
string has a declining share of the highly cited papers
and LQC has an increasing share of the highly cited papers.

and this translates into a shift in the proportion of total citations in each sample group.

Here's the Spires search tool, in case anyone wants to try some other commands:
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/

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What you do here is completely meaningless and misleading; as are your analyses of the "impact" of Smolin's book, etc; as if book buying habits of the general public would in any way reflect the scientific value of a field of research.
Thank you.

One would hope that in a Physics forum that one could actually talk about physics and not about SPIRES numbers.

This is like talking about who's dating the head cheerleader during lunchtime in high school.

Science Advisor
Gold Member
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I can see from the responses here that there is intense interest in Spires numbers among hep PhD students and others. This is not surprising since many High Energy Physics scientists, including science administrators, members of hiring and funding committees, department chairs and so forth, pay close attention to these numbers. The physics community funds Spires and DESY librarians to generate the data, presumably because they find them useful.

Here is a brief summary of what I've extracted from the Spires numbers so far in this thread.

Number of cites garnered in a given year by the top four recent hep-th string papers
Code:
Year    Total Cites
2002    1304
2003    1230
2004     712
2005     649
2006     624
2007     550
By recent I mean published in the past five years. In 2007, those with publication dates 2003-2007. The same emphasis on recent applies throughout.

Number of recent string papers making the Spires Top Fifty, by year

Code:
Year  Number of papers   Total cites during that year
2002        10                   2955
2007         1                    225
As shown in the previous table, the greatest drop in citations occurred after 2003, a year associated with the Landscape shock (the 10500 different string groundstates) and the promotion of Anthropics as a way out. One can imagine that the drop may have had something to do with this.

Top 10 most highly cited Quantum Cosmology papers. Loop/String citations ratio
Code:
Publication    LQC     string     other   Loop/String ratio
1998-2002     366      2168       168      0.17 (approx. 1/6)
2001-2005     802       790         0      1.0
2004-2008     685       188         0      3.6
I've used three different time periods and determined the ten most highly cited Quantum Cosmology papers published during each period. The Loop contingent from the early period totaled only about 1/6 as many cites as the Stringy bunch.
Loop and String papers from the middle period totaled about the same number of cites.
If one looks at the most recent period (2004-2008) the picture has changed and the Loop papers total somewhat over 3 times as many cites.

This probably indicates something about what is going on in these fields, or in the general area of Quantum Cosmology. Different people will want to offer different explanations. It might not mean anything, of course----but then again it could have some significance.

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arivero
Gold Member
Hi.

I am not back yet. Just a brief visit to renew password etc. But let me to tell about a way to get some feeling out of the top 50 list now that it is in an standarised format for each year.

SImply, use control-minus in firefox to put the smallest legible size, so you will see about the top ten, and then click in all the sequence of years. You see how the main topic remains for some years, then it changes sometimes progressive, sometimes unexpectedly. In is sort of interesting to see the coming of the string revolution about 1985, just after the culmination of the experimental quest for the Z0.

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
Hi Arivero, glad to see you back!

Your "k versus dk" thread reminded me of this thread, which contains the three short tabulations here.
Since the "k versus dk" issue has come up, I should mention that the first two tables don't depend on any Spires keyword, and so don't involve that issue.

In the case of the third, I tried the search both with k and dk and got essentially no difference. In this case the keyword was simply "quantum cosmology" and it did not appear to matter. I am relying on my memory.

I can see from the responses here that there is intense interest in Spires numbers among hep PhD students and others. This is not surprising since many High Energy Physics scientists, including science administrators, members of hiring and funding committees, department chairs and so forth, pay close attention to these numbers. The physics community funds Spires and DESY librarians to generate the data, presumably because they find them useful.

Here is a brief summary of what I've extracted from the Spires numbers so far in this thread.

Number of cites garnered in a given year by the top four recent hep-th string papers
Code:
Year    Total Cites
2002    1304
2003    1230
2004     712
2005     649
2006     624
2007     550
By recent I mean published in the past five years. In 2007, those with publication dates 2003-2007. The same emphasis on recent applies throughout.

Number of recent string papers making the Spires Top Fifty, by year

Code:
Year  Number of papers   Total cites during that year
2002        10                   2955
2007         1                    225
As shown in the previous table, the greatest drop in citations occurred after 2003, a year associated with the Landscape shock (the 10500 different string groundstates) and the promotion of Anthropics as a way out. One can imagine that the drop may have had something to do with this.

Top 10 most highly cited Quantum Cosmology papers. Loop/String citations ratio
Code:
Publication    LQC     string     other   Loop/String ratio
1998-2002     366      2168       168      0.17 (approx. 1/6)
2001-2005     802       790         0      1.0
2004-2008     685       188         0      3.6
I've used three different time periods and determined the ten most highly cited Quantum Cosmology papers published during each period. The Loop contingent from the early period totaled only about 1/6 as many cites as the Stringy bunch.
Loop and String papers from the middle period totaled about the same number of cites.
If one looks at the most recent period (2004-2008) the picture has changed and the Loop papers total somewhat over 3 times as many cites.

This probably indicates something about what is going on in these fields, or in the general area of Quantum Cosmology. Different people will want to offer different explanations. It might not mean anything, of course----but then again it could have some significance.

arivero
Gold Member
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2007/annual.shtml

=========================
In case anyone is interested there is also a separate top 50 list where the competition is restricted to articles posted in ARXIV hep-th.
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2007/eprints/to_hep-th_annual.shtml
The top ten recent string papers on that list garnered the following numbers of cites in 2007:
226, 142, 99, 83, 69, 57, 48, 44, 42, 42.
And the alltime list

http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2007/alltime.shtml

Science Advisor
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
There seemed to be some reaction and controversy to the numbers I was presenting here. But we never got down to discussing the significance. Arivero started a thread called "k versus dk" but that does not have any bearing on what i was doing. You get almost exactly the same results here. This was suggested by Demystifier, who made a constructive comment.
Demy you inspired me!
I decided to do some objective comparison between string and non-string in Quantum Cosmology, so I went to Spires and tried three commands using citation count sorting.

FIND K QUANTUM COSMOLOGY AND DATE >1997 AND NOT DATE > 2002
FIND K QUANTUM COSMOLOGY AND DATE >2000 AND NOT DATE > 2005
FIND K QUANTUM COSMOLOGY AND DATE >2003 AND NOT DATE > 2008

In each case I took the top ten, the most highly cited papers, grouped them into LQC, stringy, and other. And totaled the cites.

Code:
publication    LQC     string     other
1998-2002     366      2168       168
2001-2005     802       790          0
2004-2008     685       188          0
In this kind of search Spires doesn't give numbers of cites year by year, but only the lifetime total so far. Some of the 2004-2008 papers have not had time to be cited and more will come in, so those numbers can be expected to grow. However one can look for comparative shifts. Here are the numbers of papers that made it into the top ten, in each category

Code:
publication    LQC     string     other
1998-2002       3         5          2
2001-2005       5         5          0
2004-2008       7         3          0
I think (correct me if you see any mistake in reasoning) the immediate conclusion is that in Quantum Cosmology,
string has a declining share of the highly cited papers
and LQC has an increasing share of the highly cited papers.

and this translates into a shift in the proportion of total citations in each sample group.

Here's the Spires search tool, in case anyone wants to try some other commands:
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/
All this says is if you look for the ten most-cited quantum cosmology papers, then around 1998-2002 the bulk of them are String. And by 2004-2008 the bulk of them are Loop.

And if you total the cites of each group, then in the early period String got 6 times more than Loop and in the latest period Loop got between 3 and 4 times more cites than String did, in this highlycited group.

We never did discuss what that means.

Arivero, you have been presenting the view (in that other thread you started) that these changes are CYCLICAL. I guess that is one interpretation---swings of the pendulum.

I think it's interesting to see these shifts and try to understand them. Are they cyclical, what underlies the shifts? And so on.

this year the APS April meeting is in St. Louis. I looked at the INVITED SPEAKERS list. Two Loop and one String. They each get to talk 35 minutes. then on the last day of the conference a bunch of uninvited 12-minute string talks. After the business meetings and all that stuff is done. With people already leaving to catch planes. Maybe i don't know how to read these things, but I was struck by the stark constrast with how it was in 2007.

Also some attention should be paid to the comments from Ben-Man, Moveon, and Haelfix. As I recall, these mainly challenged presumptive conclusions that they thought someone might draw from the numbers.

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Science Advisor
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In this case, I wanted to get an idea of how the raw numbers are going this year, simply of published papers. So I looked at the Harvard database:

The first two months of 2008 are in. When we use the Harvard data base we don't have to wait for the Spires DESY librarians to assign keyword tags to the papers, which can delay things for months. The Harvard engine simply searches for occurrences in the abstract of whatever words you specify.

I compared publication during the first two months of four years 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008.
Using these five keywords: superstring, M-theory, AdS/CFT, brane, heterotic. A paper is hit if it has any one of these five terms in the title or abstract. I wouldn't claim that is a perfect set, but it gets a lot of core stringy papers. The main thing is to consistently make the same search over several years and look for a trend.

Year Papers published in first two months
2002 325
2006 267
2007 196
2008 153

I guess that there are more people trained to be string theorists now than at any time in the past. So what I see here suggests a curious anomaly. More people trained to do the research, but fewer papers. Does anyone want to offer an explanation or an interpretation? Any suggestions as to other keywords to use? I could try using one or two more.

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