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Title:The contribution of scientists to popular literature, their role as expert witnesses and their influence among peers: A case study in the field of acid rain
Author(s):Abdullah, Szarina Bt
Director of Research:Lancaster, F.W.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lancaster, F.W.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Auld, Lawrence W.S.; Smith, Linda C.; Dalrymple, Prudence W.
Department / Program:Library and Information Science
Discipline:Library and Information Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Library Science
Education, Sciences
Information Science
Environmental Sciences
Abstract:The study examined scientists' contribution to the popular literature published during 1972 to 1987 in the field of acid rain and found that 4.7% (102) of the total population (2,177) of scientists engaged in acid rain research contributed 8.7% (59 items) to the total 677 items in popular magazines, and only.0013% (one item) to the total 747 items from major newspapers. Of these 102 scientists, 19 have testified before Congressional hearings on acid rain issues while the other 83 have not. Defining the scientists who have testimony as "influential scientists", and those who did not testify as "noninfluential scientists", the study compared the mean number of popular items contributed by each group. Statistical tests supported the research hypothesis that influential scientists contributed a greater number of popular items than the noninfluential scientists. From the population of scientists engaged in acid rain research, the probability of an influential scientist contributing to the popular literature was 4.9 times the probability of a noninfluential scientist doing so.
The study then examined the citations given to scientific articles published during 1974 to 1983 by both influential and noninfluential scientists. These articles were compiled from references cited in the seven volumes of reviews and reports under the coordination of the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP), published in 1984, 1985, and (1987). One hundred articles of 39 influential scientists and 388 articles of 235 randomly selected noninfluential scientists were used as sources of citations. Citations to each article were divided by the number of authors before comparisons were done. Influential scientists were found to have a higher mean citation rate than the noninfluential ones. Scientists who published popular items in addition to scientific articles were also found to have a much higher mean citation rate than those who published only scientific articles.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Abdullah, Szarina Bt
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI8924750
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI8924750

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