Notability For Academics

What is the notability guideline for Wikipedia Academic notability?

The notability guideline for academic notability on Wikipedia is one of the few that tries to establish notability through measurements of merits. While the general criteria for notability can still be used (such as the person being profiled several times by the mainstream media), the policy allows for specialized academic criteria that can be applied instead. Academic notability is generally determined by the impact of a person’s work on their field.

According to Wikipedia policy, the most typical way to demonstrate the impact of an academic’s work is “to show that the academic has been an author of highly cited academic work – either several extremely highly cited scholarly publications or a substantial number of scholarly publications with significant citation rates.”

Here are a few other ways an academic may qualify:

  1. The subject has received a highly prestigious academic award that is recognized at a national or international level.
  2. The subject of the article is an elected member of a highly selective and prestigious scholarly society. For example, the National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society) or a fellow of a major scholarly society (e.g., Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics).
  3. The subject of the article  has held a distinguished professor appointment at a major university, or a named chair appointment recognizing a comparable level of achievement,.
  4. The subject of the article has held a highest-level elected or appointed administrative post at a major academic institution or major academic society. This usually means the  president of a major university or college.
  5. The subject of the page  has led or been editor in chief of a major, well-established academic journal in their subject area.

How can the impact of a professor’s research be assessed for notability?

Assessing the impact of a professor’s research for notability involves considering factors such as the number and quality of their publications, the citation rates of their work, and the recognition they have received from their peers. Independent, reliable sources, such as peer-reviewed scholarly publications and academic books, can be used to verify the significance of  research contributions. Bear in mind, however,  that citation and publication rates may vary across disciplines, so it is essential to evaluate the professor’s impact within the context of their specific field.

What types of sources are considered valid for establishing notability for Wikipedia Academic notability?

Independent statements, reviews, citation metrics, or library holdings can be used in establishing notability. Major awards must be confirmed, and claims of impact must be substantiated. Once notability has been established, non-independent, or primary sources, such as official institutional and professional sources, can be used to confirm routine, uncontroversial details. 

Can academics that don’t meet the general notability guideline still be included in Wikipedia?

Yes – if they meet the conditions of other notability criteria. For example, an academic may not be notable under the provisions of the academic notability guideline but may be notable in some other way under the general notability guideline or one of the other subject-specific notability guidelines.

Are there specific notability guidelines for different categories of academics?

Yes. The criteria for notability can vary greatly by field and are determined by precedent and consensus.

What are the specific notability criteria for professors on Wikipedia?

Professors are typically expected to have a significant impact on their field through research, teaching, and service.  Establishing notability usually entails a person having a significant impact on their scholarly discipline, receiving highly prestigious academic awards or honors, or holding high-level positions at major institutions.

What are some common challenges in establishing notability for professors?

Establishing notability in this context can be complicated due to the diverse nature of academic work and the varying expectations across different disciplines. Some common challenges include determining the significance of research contributions, assessing the impact of teaching and service, and finding reliable sources to support notability within the discipline. Additionally, the criteria for notability may be more stringent for professors in certain fields, such as the sciences, where publication and citation rates are generally higher than in the humanities.


What role do teaching and service play in establishing notability for professors?

While teaching and service are essential aspects of a professor’s role in academia, they may not be the primary factors in establishing notability on Wikipedia. However, if a professor has made a significant impact on higher education, such as authoring widely-used textbooks or holding high-level administrative positions at major universities, these accomplishments may contribute to their notability.

How do academic awards and honors contribute to a professor’s notability?

Awards and other accolades demonstrate recognition from the academic community and demonstrated that a professor has made impact on their field. Examples of notable awards include the Nobel Prize, MacArthur Fellowship, Fields Medal, and other major honors from national or international scholarly societies. Less prestigious awards don’t help establish notability, even if there are many of them.

Can a professor be considered notable for their work outside academia?

Yes, if they have made a substantial impact in their academic capacity. Examples of impact include being frequently quoted as an expert in the media, authoring popular general audience books on academic subjects, or making significant contributions to public policy or industry. To establish notability based on a professor’s work outside academia, it is essential to provide reliable sources that demonstrate their impact and recognition in their field.

What are the challenges in finding reliable sources for establishing a professor’s notability?

Finding reliable sources to establish a professor’s notability can be challenging due to the diverse nature of their work and the varying expectations across different disciplines. Some potential hurdles include limited access to citation databases, incomplete coverage of certain fields in online search engines, and the varying importance of different types of publications across disciplines.  Using a combination of sources to verify the professor’s accomplishments and impact on their field – such as peer-reviewed scholarly publications, academic books, and reputable media outlets – can be a effective way to establish notability.

How do the notability criteria for professors vary across different disciplines?

Because of differences in publication and citation rates, research methodologies, and the importance of various types of publications, notability criteria for academic professionals can vary across different disciplines. For example, professors in the sciences may have higher publication and citation rates than those in the humanities, while book publications may play a more significant role in establishing notability for professors in the humanities. When evaluating a professor’s notability, it is essential to consider the unique aspects of their discipline and the expectations within their field.

How can WhiteHatWiki help?

We are an agency that specializes in “white hat” consulting in “conflict of interest” (COI) situations. Proposing a new page, or updates to an existing page about you, your company, family, friends, clients, employers, your financial interests and other external relationships constitutes a COI. Public disclosure of the COI is mandatory; and direct publishing or editing of pages is not allowed. WHW can work with qualified clients to create a draft or proposal that will abide by Wikipedia’s labyrinth of policies to the satisfaction of Wikipedia’s tough, independent reviewers. Contact Us.