Chris F. Kemerer, the David M. Roderick Professor of Information Systems at the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, was recently recognized for having written the most highly cited paper ever in the field of software engineering.
Kemerer’s seminal work, “A Metrics Suite for Object-Oriented Design,’ was published in 1994 in the IEEE Transactions of Software Engineering. The paper was co-authored with his former doctoral student Shyam R. Chidamber.
The high citation count of Kemerer’s paper was verified in the study, “Highly-Cited Papers in Software Engineering: The Top 100,” published in Information and Software Technology in 2016. Noting that citations “play a key role in the evolution of knowledge” and “quantify the impact of papers and journals,” researchers analyzed the citation counts for nearly 72,000 research papers that were published between 1972 and 2015.
“Although getting your research published is a necessary first step, it is only through citations that you can learn which of your papers are having the most impact on the field,” says Kemerer, a senior member of the Katz faculty and current director of the school’s Information Systems and Technology Management area.
Kemerer’s paper ranked first in the world, with 1,817 citations. To put this in perspective, the study noted that 57 percent of the other published papers had either zero or only a single citation to their credit.
Still taught today in the PhD seminars of business schools and computer science schools around the world, Kemerer’s paper was the first to define a set of measures for object-oriented software. These measures were validated with field data collected from commercial software development projects.
For Kemerer, the paper represented the culmination of a half dozen years of research on software measurement. He had been mostly using and testing metrics developed by others who came before him, before deciding to create his own set of metrics to improve the field of study.
The recognition is the latest achievement for Kemerer, a prolific scholar who has published a number of influential research papers in two primary areas: software engineering economics and the management of information systems.
According to Google Scholar, his work has been cited nearly 16,000 times and he has 29 papers with more than 100 citations each.
In 2013, Kemerer was inducted into the INFORMS Information Systems Society as a Distinguished Fellow. The selection is based upon scholarly impact, intellectual leadership, and mentoring future scholars.
Arjang A. Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean of the Katz School and College of Business Administration, lauded Kemerer for his influence as a leader in the field and at the school.
“Citation counts are important, but they are just one measure of the research excellence of Dr. Kemerer,” Assad says. “He has also had a powerful impact through his mentorship of doctoral students, education of our graduate students, and collaborations with faculty colleagues. The school has benefitted greatly from his expertise.”