Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The most cited authors in Sociology

Inspired by this, I've decided to ask: Who is the most cited author in Sociology of all time? I'll give you a hint. It is not E. Durkheim, nor K. Marx. It is not P. Bourdieu either, although he is close to the top of the list.

This ranking is based on Google Scholar Citations page. Of course there are unregistered authors, what makes this ranking very inaccurate (although I believe the two first positions are correct).**

Anyway, the real purpose of this post is to encourage you to register at Google Scholar Citations. This is one of the best ways for academics to compute citation metrics and track them over time.

You only need a gmail account and Google does the rest for you. And anyone can register!

**A few authors missing from the ranking because they are not in Google Scholar Citations.
  • Anthony Giddens
  • Norbert Elias
  • Manuel Castells
  • David Harvey
  • Robert Castel
  • Saskia Sassen
  • Loic Wacquant
  • Ulrich Beck
  • Zygmunt Bauman
  • Jürgen Habermas
  • Bruno Latour
  • Mark Gottdiener
  • This could go on and on...


Ba-ldei Aga said...

It speaks more about sociology and less about other authors

Anonymous said...

This is a great analysis. It would be interesting to see the data in terms of what types of sociology papers are being published. Could it be that these cis white male authors from Europe and America are cited more often because the majority of sociology publishing is skewed towards particular topics? Feminism, postcolonialism and queer theory arose as a set of critiques about the established sociological paradigms. A 2008 survey of the papers published in the Australian Journal of Sociology shows that class, stratification and mobility were the primary subjects being written about up until the 1990s, although industrial sociology and the sociology of work remain popular today. These topics would align with the authors your analysis brings to the forefront of sociology citations. Feminism, gender, sexuality and families have featured heavily since the 1970s. These are areas where women sociologists and LGBTQI theorists have made great strides to shift sociological theory and methods. Indigenous issues did not feature in the top five subjects until the 2000s. I wonder whether we need to rethink the way we teach sociology? Perhaps we also need to critically review the way in which publishing is gatekeeping and elevating certain voices over Others. We are penalised for not citing the "classics" but, as your data show, we collectively seem to view "the classics" as cis white males from developed nations. As you note, a broader methodology beyond Google Scholar might yield different results. Still, sobering and insightful post. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Karl Marx? I think in sociology Marx is cited at least as much as Durkheim.

Anonymous said...

Google scholar has Marx citations around 164K.

Rafael H M Pereira said...

That's absolutely true. Marx has around 164K citations today, what puts him the third position.

I should update this post one day.