Kardashian Index

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The Kardashian Index (K-Index), named after Kim Kardashian, is a measure of the discrepancy between a scientist's social media profile and publication record.[1] Proposed in 2014, the measure compares the number of followers a research scientist has on Twitter to the number of citations they have for their peer-reviewed work.


The relationship between the number of Twitter followers () and the number of citations () is described as:

The Kardashian Index is thus calculated as:

where is the actual number of Twitter followers of researcher and is the number that researcher should have given their citations.


A high K-index indicates an over-blown scientific fame while a low K-index suggests that a scientist is being undervalued. According to the author, researchers whose K-index > 5 can be considered 'Science Kardashians'.


The K-index suggests that the number of citations of a given scientist is comparable to his or her scientific value. This assumption has been criticized.[2][3]

On the other hand, the proposal of the K-Index in itself can be interpreted as a criticism to the assumption that scientists should have a social media impact at all while, in reality, social media footprint has no correlation at all to the scientific quality or scientific impact.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hall, N (July 30, 2014). "The Kardashian index: a measure of discrepant social media profile for scientists" (PDF). Genome Biology. 15 (7): 424. doi:10.1186/s13059-014-0424-0. PMC 4165362. PMID 25315513. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  2. ^ "Introducing the "K Index"".
  3. ^ "Citations are not a measure of quality". Archived from the original on 2014-08-19.
  4. ^ Houstein, Stefanie; Peters, Isabella; Sugimoto, Cassidy R.; Thelwall, Mike; Larivière, Vincent (April 2014). "Tweeting biomedicine: An analysis of tweets and citations in the biomedical literature". Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 65 (4): 656–669. arXiv:1308.1838. doi:10.1002/asi.23101.


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