Papers written by academics at Queen's University in Belfast have been declared as among the most referenced in the world by other geoscientists. A 2004 paper by Dr Paula Reimer, Professor Mike Baillie, Professor Gerry McCormac, Ron Reimer and others was selected as a Current Classic by Thomson Scientific in both February and April after being cited more than 520 times since its publication.
The paper, entitled IntCal04 terrestrial radiocarbon age calibration, focused on carbon dating - a process used by geoscientists to establish the age, up to about 50,000 years old, of anything which was once alive, from bones to seeds, for archaeological purposes and studies of past environmental change.
Twenty five people were involved for three years in compiling the paper which researched the accuracy of converting radiocarbon ages to calendar ages.
Dr Paula Reimer, Director of the Chrono Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen's, said: 'The paper was highlighted as a Current Classic by Thompson Scientific because of the rapid rise in citations by other researchers in archaeology and geosciences who use it for converting radiocarbon ages to calendar timescale.'
Professor Gerry McCormac, a Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen's, who has run the carbon dating facility for more than 20 years, said: 'This research is a refinement and extension of previous radiocarbon calibration curves for improved timescales back to 26,000 years ago. It is now used by thousands of researchers worldwide to determine the precise calendar dates of artefacts that have been carbon dated.'
Another paper in which Dr Reimer was involved in writing in 1998, Intcal 98 radiocarbon age calibration, is also a Current Classic, and has been cited nearly 2,500 times.
Henry Small, Director of Research Services and Chief Scientist at Thomson Reuters, which compiles the information said: 'These are widely used data papers clearly of high utility to the field, and are typical of papers we select for our Current Classics list in ScienceWatch.com. To have been involved as an author on two such papers is of course an extraordinary achievement.'