Have been putting together a blog post about research metrics for a great site on international collaboration coming out of Australia, which I will link to here once it is posted there, and was reminded about one of my favorite research metrics- the Erdős number. I think it is my favorite as it hits my soft spot by incorporating social network principles to analyze/explain prestige in science.
In the field of mathematics, the Erdős number is common research metric (also often just calculated for fun). Erdős is the most published mathematician to date, having worked in multiple domains of mathematics. The Erdős number is the distance in co-authors between a person and mathematician Paul Erdős. The lower your number the closer you are to Erdős (Erdős being “number 0”), but what that relative closeness implies remains debated among scholars. But certainly a good conversation starter at conferences or possible bragging point?!?
For more info about the Erdős number see Oakland University’s Erdős Number Project site – http://www.oakland.edu/enp/, where you can compute your own Erdős number.