The Drake index for academics

I think academic indices are pretty silly; maybe we should introduce so many academic indices that people can’t even remember which one is which. There are pretty serious flaws with both citation indices and social media indices that I think render them pretty meaningless in a lot of ways.

Regardless of these obvious flaws I want in the game. Instead of the K-index for academics I propose the Drake index. Drake has achieved both critical and popular success. His song “Honorable Mentions” from the ESPYs (especially the first verse) reminds me of the motivation of the K-index paper.

To quantify both the critical and popular success of a scientist, I propose the Drake Index ™. The Drake Index is defined as follows

(# Twitter Followers)/(Max Twitter Followers by a Person in your Field) + (#Citations)/(Max Citations by a Person in your Field)

Let’s break the index down. There are two main components (Twitter followers and Citations) measuring popular and critical acclaim. But they are measured on different scales. So we attempt to normalize them to the maximum in their field so the indices will both be between 0 and 1. This means that your Drake index score is between 0 and 2. Let’s look at a few examples to see how the index works.

  1. Drake  = (16.9M followers)/(55.5 M followers for Justin Bieber) + (0 citations)/(134 Citations for Natalie Portman) = 0.30
  2. Rafael Irizarry = (1.1K followers)/(17.6K followers for Simply Stats) + (38,194 citations)/(185,740 citations for Doug Altman) = 0.27
  3. Roger Peng - (4.5K followers)/(17.6K followers for Simply Stats) + (4,011 citations)/(185,740 citations for Doug Altman) = 0.27
  4. Jeff Leek - (2.6K followers)/(17.6K followers for Simply + (2,348 citations)/(185,740 citations for Doug Altman) = 0.16

In the interest of this not being taken any seriously than an afternoon blogpost should be I won’t calculate any other people’s Drake index. But you can :-).

 
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