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. 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'.
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.
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