Jan. 8, 2016

Robert Sternberg isn't done yet: 102,000 citations and counting

Robert Sternberg
Jason Koski/University Photography
Robert Sternberg's work has been cited more than 102,000 times, a figure that is in some cases more than an entire academic department achieves.

Robert Sternberg, professor of human development, passed an exceptionally rare milestone recently: his research has been cited by other scholars more than 102,000 times, according to Google Scholar.

According to his colleague Stephen Ceci – no slouch in this arena with more than 30,800 citations – in some cases this is more than entire academic departments achieve.

Sternberg came to Cornell in winter 2014 following a distinguished academic career at Yale University, Tufts University (as dean of arts and sciences), Oklahoma State University (as provost), and University of Wyoming (briefly as president). To date he has written roughly 1,600 publications, with 771 of the papers cited at least 10 times.

An analysis from March 2015 puts Sternberg as the 56th-most cited researcher of anyone listed publicly on Google Scholar. (Some guy named Freud tops the list.) Other Cornell professors to make the cut are John Laragh (65,998 citations), Scott Emr (41,786 citations) and Deborah Estrin (94,735 citations).

These distinctions repeat the drumbeat that has followed Sternberg for the past several years. In 2014, he was listed among the top 100 “extremely eminent” psychologists post-World War II in the Archives of Scientific Psychology. And in 2002, he was named among the top 100 eminent psychologists of the 20th century by the American Psychological Association’s monthly magazine. He hit #60 in both lists.

Sternberg seems to take these accolades with a grain of salt.

In “Career advice from an oldish not-quite geezer,” a May 2015 article he wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education, the now 66-year old advised younger academics to put family first. He has five children. “You can’t count on your publications and awards to take care of you. You need your family now, and you’ll need them more later. More important, they need you now,” he wrote.

Although Sternberg views himself as a “not-quite geezer,” he has not given up the academic game quite yet: His annual report for 2015 lists 30 publications for the year.