Modern electronic tools for managing knowledge allow for easy analysis of all
sorts of things. For instance, it is now easy to look at author patterns in
the SPE journals and answer a variety of questions. I have been doing some
analysis for other purposes, and in the process have developed the following
figures. Contained in Fig. 1 is the frequency of papers vs. the number of
authors for papers in the SPE Journal. This is for the period of September
2000 to September 2004, during which time the electronic logging of papers is
readily available. The mean number of authors in SPEJ is 2.74 authors per
paper. The greatest number of authors for a single paper is 7, which occurred
twice in the period analyzed.
Fig. 1—Frequency chart of the fraction of papers in SPEJ vs. the number of
authors per paper, September 2000 to September 2004.
How does this compare with the other SPE technical journals? The result is
shown in Fig. 2. SPEJ has the lowest average, reflecting the role of the
journal in reporting fundamental advances, whereas SPE Drilling & Completion
(SPEDC) has the largest average, with 3.53 authors per paper for the same
period. SPEJ has the highest proportion of single-author papers, as well as
the most with dual authorship.
Fig. 2—The average number of authors per paper for the four SPE technical
Which papers have had the maximum number of authors? SPE Reservoir Evaluation
& Engineering (SPEREE) has the paper with the most authors, 11, closely
followed by SPEDC, where there is a paper with 10 authors. Please don't use
the figures I report here to attempt a record! Recall the quote I used in last
September's issue: "The scientific paper should list as authors only those who
have contributed substantially to the work."
Which authors have been successful at publishing the most often? In SPEJ, we
have an author that has been involved with 9 papers over the specified
four-year period, and two authors with 7 papers. In SPEDC and SPE Production &
Facilities (SPEPF), the largest number of appearances by a single author is 5.
In SPEREE, the most appearances by a single author is 6, but of course that
journal comes out at a higher frequency than the other three. Note that in
electronic analysis authors who have sometimes used one first initial and
other times use two will not be identified as being the same person.
Which authors are most diverse? In the period analyzed, 11 authors have
managed to appear at least once in SPEJ, at least once in SPEPF, and again in
one of the remaining two SPE technical journals. No author has managed to
appear in all four.
What does all this mean? That's open to question. But if you are interested,
you may wish to search for the actual authors or papers that I have specified.
In the meantime you can enjoy the current issue, hopefully not being too
distracted from the excellent technical content.