This Is the Most Cited Academic Paper on Wikipedia

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iStock

Many would probably be surprised to learn that a paper on climate classification has been referenced 2.8 million times on Wikipedia. The authors of the paper certainly were, as WIRED reported.

According to a recent analysis by The Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia, a paper titled "Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification" is by far the most cited source on the site, making its authors something like Wikipedia rock stars. To put that number in perspective, it's slightly less than the number of followers that rapper Cardi B has on Twitter.

While climate classification might not be the sexiest topic, it's incredibly useful across a number of fields, "since climate can affect everything from biology to sociology," as WIRED noted.

Penned by three Australian researchers, the academic paper updates an older version of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which was originally conceived in 1884 by Russian-German climatologist Wladimir Köppen and updated in the 1950s by German climatologist Rudolf Geiger.

The Australian researchers—Brian Finlayson, Thomas McMahon, and Murray Peel—updated the map that accompanies the classification system yet again in 2007. The map's use has been widespread, with Lonely Planet reportedly using it to share general weather information about the various destinations it provides travel guides for.

The Köppen-Geiger climate classification map

Peel, M. C., Finlayson, B. L., and McMahon, T. A., Wikipedia // CC BY-SA 4.0

Finlayson, a retired geography professor from the University of Melbourne, was shocked to learn how frequently their map is referenced. "Those numbers blew me away," Finlayson told WIRED. "None of us had any idea about this. We didn't know Wikipedia collected this information or anything about it."

The Wikimedia Foundation arrived at this figure by analyzing the data of every citation in all of Wikipedia's 297 languages. The only stipulation was that the citations had to be paired with an identifier (for example, "DOI" for a scholarly paper, or "ISBN" for a book edition), but even after narrowing it down, they ended up with nearly 15.7 million records.

All of the top 10 sources by citation are reference books or scientific articles. Trailing far behind the updated Köppen-Geiger map in second place, with 21,350 citations, is some light reading on the "Prediction of Hydrophobic (Lipophilic) Properties of Small Organic Molecules Using Fragment Methods." "Galaxies and How to Observe Them," "A Concise History of Romania," and the California Academy of Sciences' "Catalog of Fishes" also make the top 10.

[h/t WIRED]

20 Black-and-White Facts About Penguins

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iStock/fieldwork

Who is a penguin's favorite family member? Aunt Arctica! 

We kid! But seven of the 17 species of penguins can be found on the southernmost continent. Here are 20 more fun facts about these adorable tuxedoed birds. 

1. All 17 species of penguins are found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.

A group of penguins on an iceberg.
iStock/axily

2. Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing nearly 4 feet tall. The smallest is the Little Blue Penguin, which is only about 16 inches.

Three emperor penguins
iStock/Fabiano_Teixeira

3. The fastest species is the Gentoo Penguin, which can reach swimming speeds up to 22 mph.

A gentoo penguin swimming underwater
iStock/chameleonseye

4. A penguin's striking coloring is a matter of camouflage; from above, its black back blends into the murky depths of the ocean. From below, its white belly is hidden against the bright surface.

Penguins swimming in the ocean
iStock/USO

5. Fossils place the earliest penguin relative at some 60 million years ago, meaning an ancestor of the birds we see today survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

Emperor penguins with chicks
iStock/vladsilver

6. Penguins ingest a lot of seawater while hunting for fish, but a special gland behind their eyes—the supraorbital gland—filters out the saltwater from their blood stream. Penguins excrete it through their beaks, or by sneezing.

Penguin swimming in the ocean
iStock/Musat

7. Unlike most birds—which lose and replace a few feathers at a time—penguins molt all at once, spending two or three weeks land-bound as they undergo what is called the catastrophic molt.

Gentoo penguin chick molting
iStock/ChristianWilkinson

8. All but two species of penguins breed in large colonies of up to one thousand birds.

A colony of king penguins
iStock/DurkTalsma

9. It varies by species, but many penguins will mate with the same member of the opposite sex season after season.

Two chinstrap penguins
iStock/Legacy-Images

10. Similarly, most species are also loyal to their exact nesting site, often returning to the same rookery in which they were born.

Magellanic penguin nesting in the ground
iStock/JeremyRichards

11. Some species create nests for their eggs out of pebbles and loose feathers. Emperor Penguins are an exception: They incubate a single egg each breeding season on the top of their feet. Under a loose fold of skin is a featherless area with a concentration of blood vessels that keeps the egg warm.

Penguin eggs
iStock/Buenaventuramariano

12. In some species, it is the male penguin which incubates the eggs while females leave to hunt for weeks at a time. Because of this, pudgy males—with enough fat storage to survive weeks without eating—are most desirable.

A group of emperor penguins and chick
iStock/vladsilver

13. Penguin parents—both male and female—care for their young for several months until the chicks are strong enough to hunt for food on their own.

Penguin chick and parent on a nest
iStock/golnyk

14. If a female Emperor Penguin's baby dies, she will often "kidnap" an unrelated chick.

Three emperor penguin chicks
iStock/AntAntarctic

15. Despite their lack of visible ears, penguins have excellent hearing and rely on distinct calls to identify their mates when returning to the crowded breeding grounds.

Gentoo penguins
iStock/Goddard_Photography

16. The first published account of penguins comes from Antonio Pigafetta, who was aboard Ferdinand Magellan's first circumnavigation of the globe in 1520. They spotted the animals near what was probably Punta Tombo in Argentina. (He called them "strange geese.")

A group of magellanic penguins on the seacoast
iStock/encrier

17. An earlier, anonymous diary entry from Vasco da Gama's 1497 voyage around the Cape of Good Hope makes mention of flightless birds as large as ducks.

A cape penguin in South Africa
iStock/ziggy_mars

18. Because they aren't used to danger from animals on solid ground, wild penguins exhibit no particular fear of human tourists.

Man videotaping a penguin in Antarctica
iStock/Bkamprath

19. Unlike most sea mammals—which rely on blubber to stay warm—penguins survive because their feathers trap a layer of warm air next to the skin that serves as insulation, especially when they start generating muscular heat by swimming around.

Penguin swimming in the ocean
iStock/Musat

20. In the 16th century, the word penguin actually referred to great auks (scientific name: Pinguinus impennis), a now-extinct species that inhabited the seas around eastern Canada. When explorers traveled to the Southern Hemisphere, they saw black and white birds that resembled auks, and called them penguins.

This story was first published in 2017.

Can You Spot the Official Scrabble Words?

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iStock.com/Rena-Marie

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