As members of the Virgo Collaboration—one of the large scientific collaborations that explore the universe of gravitational waves together with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the KAGRA Collaboration—we became aware of biased citation practices that exclude Virgo, as well as KAGRA, from achievements that collectively belong to the wider LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA Collaboration. Here, we frame these practices in the context of Merton’s “Matthew effect”, extending the reach of this well-studied cognitive bias to include large international scientific collaborations. We provide qualitative evidence of its occurrence, displaying the network of links among published papers in the scientific literature related to Gravitational Wave science. We note how the keyword “LIGO” is linked to a much larger number of papers and variety of subjects than the keyword “Virgo”. We support these qualitative observations with a quantitative study based on a year-long monitoring of the relevant literature, where we scan all new preprints appearing in the arXiv electronic preprint database. Over the course of one year, we identified all preprints failing to assign due credits to Virgo. As a further step, we undertook positive actions by asking the authors of problematic papers to correct them. Here, we also report on a more in-depth investigation which we performed on problematic preprints that appeared in the first three months of the period under consideration, checking how frequently their authors reacted positively to our request and corrected their papers. Finally, we measure the global impact of papers classified as problematic and observe that, thanks to the changes implemented in response to our requests, the global impact (measured as the number of citations of papers which still contain Virgo visibility issues) was halved. We conclude the paper with general considerations for future work in a wider perspective.

Addressing the problem of the LIGO–Virgo–KAGRA visibility in the scientific literature

Milotti, Edoardo;Trovato, Agata;Virtuoso, Andrea
2024-01-01

Abstract

As members of the Virgo Collaboration—one of the large scientific collaborations that explore the universe of gravitational waves together with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the KAGRA Collaboration—we became aware of biased citation practices that exclude Virgo, as well as KAGRA, from achievements that collectively belong to the wider LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA Collaboration. Here, we frame these practices in the context of Merton’s “Matthew effect”, extending the reach of this well-studied cognitive bias to include large international scientific collaborations. We provide qualitative evidence of its occurrence, displaying the network of links among published papers in the scientific literature related to Gravitational Wave science. We note how the keyword “LIGO” is linked to a much larger number of papers and variety of subjects than the keyword “Virgo”. We support these qualitative observations with a quantitative study based on a year-long monitoring of the relevant literature, where we scan all new preprints appearing in the arXiv electronic preprint database. Over the course of one year, we identified all preprints failing to assign due credits to Virgo. As a further step, we undertook positive actions by asking the authors of problematic papers to correct them. Here, we also report on a more in-depth investigation which we performed on problematic preprints that appeared in the first three months of the period under consideration, checking how frequently their authors reacted positively to our request and corrected their papers. Finally, we measure the global impact of papers classified as problematic and observe that, thanks to the changes implemented in response to our requests, the global impact (measured as the number of citations of papers which still contain Virgo visibility issues) was halved. We conclude the paper with general considerations for future work in a wider perspective.
2024
25-gen-2024
Pubblicato
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1140/epjh/s13129-023-00066-z
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3067818
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