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Chomsky Is Citation Champ

Many are the authors who may wonder if anyone is paying attention to what they write.

Professor Noam Chomsky, MIT's preeminent linguistics authority, doesn't have that problem.

Recent research on citations in three different citation indices show that Professor Chomsky is one of the most cited individuals in works published in the past 20 years.

In fact, his 3,874 citations in the Arts and Humanities Citation Index between 1980 and 1992 make him the most cited living person in that period and the eighth most cited source overrall--just behind famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud and just ahead of philosopher Georg Hegel.

Indeed, Professor Chomsky is in illustrious company. The top ten cited sources during the period were: Marx, Lenin, Shakespeare, Aristotle, the Bible, Plato, Freud, Chomsky, Hegel and Cicero.

But that isn't all.

From 1972 to 1992, Professor Chomsky was cited 7,449 times in the Social Science Citation Index-likely the greatest number of times for a living person there as well, although the research into those numbers isn't complete. In addition, from 1974 to 1992 he was cited 1,619 times in the Science Citation Index.

"What it means is that he is very widely read across disciplines and that his work is used by researchers across disciplines," said Theresa A. Tobin, the Humanities Librarian who checked the numbers.

"In fact," she added, "it seems that you can't write a paper without citing Noam Chomsky."

A version of this article appeared in the April 15, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 36, Number 27).

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