One for the Sardine, two for the birds

2 May 2014 - 09:15

If, for a life scientist, the rule of thumb is don't bank on getting your name into the journal Science, like ever, then in 2011 UCT's Dr Lynne Shannon didn't just break the rule, but tossed the rule book out the window.

Dr Lynne Shannon (left) with Dr Yunne-Jai Shin Data: ISI Web of Knowledge
Teamwork: Dr Lynne Shannon (left) with Dr Yunne-Jai Shin of the French Institute of Research for Development, one of her many collaborators in recent years. Data: ISI Web of Knowledge, using multidisciplinary sciences as a subject category, and 2010 statistics. The impact factor of a journal is defined as the average number of citations received per paper published in that journal during the two preceding years.


In August, Shannon, of the Marine Research Institute (MA-RE) and the Department of Zoology, was among the 12 researchers who toasted the publication of a paper - Impacts of Fishing Low-Trophic-Level Species on Marine Ecosystems - in the famed journal, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The ink had barely dried on the paper before, in December, Shannon's name graced the journal's pages once again, this time as one of 14 authors of the paper Global Seabird Response to Forage Fish Depletion - One-Third for the Birds.

Science may have one of the shortest names in the world of academic publications, but that's not the reason everyone remembers it. Its impact factor for 2010 was set at over 30 (see graph), making it one of the highest in the world, mentioned only in the same breath as close rival Nature. (One scientist sought for comment described the journal's impact factor, by local standards, as "off the charts".)

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