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Swift Publication Statistics: A Comparison With Other Major Observatories

S. Savaglio and U. Grothkopf
Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Vol. 125, No. 925 (March 2013), pp. 287-294
DOI: 10.1086/670027
Stable URL:
Page Count: 8
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Swift Publication Statistics: A Comparison With Other Major Observatories
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ABSTRACT.Swift is a satellite equipped with γγ-ray, X-ray, and optical-UV instruments aimed at discovering, localizing, and collecting data from gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Launched at the end of 2004, this small-size mission finds about a hundred GRBs per year, totaling more than 700 events as of 2012. In addition to GRBs, Swift observes other energetic events, such as active galactic nuclei (AGNs), novae, and supernovae. Here we look at its success using bibliometric tools; that is, the number of papers using Swift data and their impact (i.e., number of citations to those papers). We derived these from the publication years 2005 to 2011, and compared them with the same numbers for other major observatories. Swift provided data for 1101 papers in the interval 2005–2011, with 24 in the first year, to 287 in the last year. In 2011, Swift had more than double the number of publications as Subaru, it overcame Gemini by a large fraction, and reached Keck. It is getting closer to the ∼400∼400 publications of the successful high-energy missions XMM-Newton and Chandra, but is still far from the most productive telescopes, VLT (over 500) and HST (almost 800). The overall average number of citations per paper, as of 2012 November, is 28.3, which is comparable to the others, but lower than Keck (41.8). The science topics covered by Swift publications have changed from the first year, when over 80% of the papers were about GRBs, falling to less than 30% in 2011.

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