Visualizing the academic descendants of prolific researchers is a challenging problem. To this end, a modified Pavlo algorithm is presented and its utility is demonstrated based on manually collected academic genealogies of five researchers in biomechanics and biomedicine. The researchers have 15–32 children each and between 93 and 384 total descendants. The graphs generated by the modified algorithm were over 97% smaller than the original. Mentorship metrics were also calculated; their hm-indices are 5–7 and the gm-indices are in the range 7–13. Of the 1,096 unique researchers across the five family trees, 153 (14%) had graduated their own PhD students by the end of 2021. It took an average of 9.6 years after their own graduation for an advisor to graduate their first PhD student, which suggests that an academic generation in this field is approximately one decade. The manually collected data sets used were also compared against the crowd-sourced academic genealogy data from the AcademicTree.org website. The latter included only 45% of the people and 34% of the connections, so this limitation must be considered when using it for analyses where completeness is required. The data sets and an implementation of the algorithm are available for reuse.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Author notes

Handling Editor: Ludo Waltman

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For a full description of the license, please visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.