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Quality and Page-Rank

The quality of any publication is determined by the number of citations it receives. Is Page-Rank algorithm inspired from this?


This is an article from the website, an online discussion forum and image board formed of many sub-reddits which are formed of different interests ranging from women’s rights to television shows.  This article comes from the sub-reddit r/askscience, which is composed of user asked questions pertaining to different areas of science, which are in turn answered by other users, who usually post their authority in the subject area.  In this post, user “randomreddi2r” asks if the Page-Rank algorithm is inspired by the quality of the paper which is determined by the number of citations it receives.  The general response to this question is yes, but there are other factors as well.  Responder “Platypuskeeper” confirms the correlation, but also mentions that the actual page rank algorithm is more complicated than just that.  He also goes on to say that the most important factor in determining quality is what experts in the field of said paper think of it.  Another user “shepm” a self-reported studier of bioinformatics agrees with ‘Platypuskeeper” and further adds that quality and number of citations are not necessarily correlated, as some papers are in a small field, and thus do not have nearly as many citations, but are of equal quality.

This ties into class by the inclusion of Page Rank.  In this way, page rank of a publication is directly tied to its quality.  What can be taken from this is ultimately, the quality of the paper is not necessarily related to its page rank.  For example, a paper on black-body radiation and a paper on basic economics cannot be compared in this way because they appeal to different groups of people and different numbers of possible readers.  Thus there can be said to be no correlation between quality and page rank, as page rank can be seen as a measure of accessibility as well as quality itself.  Therefore it leads one to believe that the page-rank algorithm is not inspired from this, but from the popularity and accessibility more-so.  This is not to say that quality has nothing to do with rank, it is obvious that a well written and intelligent paper will receive more citations that a poorly written or incorrect paper, but this is most definitely not the only determinate.

This article and subsequent discussion can be viewed as important as it sheds light on the original poster’s question, as well as providing extra food for thought.  While much of the discussion says roughly the same thing, it is still informative and helps provide evidence and examples to support the answer to the question.





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