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Summer madness

Michael Frayn’s Skios takes aim at the sillier aspects of the academic conference season. But there’s food for thought amid the mistaken identities and bed-hopping, finds Paul Nightingale.

To a bibliometrician, names are vital. Authors’ names allow us to connect science to people, people to places, places to ideas, and inputs and outputs to impacts and outcomes.

When names are wrong, the entire enterprise of mapping the science system across time and space can go awry. A missing or incorrect link in a network can make network metrics meaningless. This is why bibliometricians work hard to ensure people are who we think they are, and why the list of Dr Kims in the Korean telephone directory sends shivers down our collective spine.

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