The exponentially growing number of scientific papers stimulates a discussion on the interplay between quantity and quality in science. In particular, one may wonder which publication strategy may offer more chances of success: publishing lots of papers, producing a few hit papers, or something in between. Here we tackle this question by studying the scientific portfolios of Nobel Prize laureates. A comparative analysis of different citation-based indicators of individual impact suggests that the best path to success may rely on consistently producing high-quality work. Such a pattern is especially rewarded by a new metric, the E-index, which identifies excellence better than state-of-the-art measures.

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Handling Editor: Ludo Waltman

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