Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-2 - 91

coin is larger than that of a 1 EUR coin, although its face value
is smaller.

Rule 12. Coin Properties Other Than Size are Not
Used

Fig. 5. The size of an automotive antenna module on a car roof piece [31] is
measured with a EUR one cent coin.

surveyor's wheel. Coins are only used to measure the size of
coin-sized objects. A counterexample is given in Fig. 5, where
an automotive antenna module on a piece of carbon fiber reinforced car roof [31] is measured with a EUR one cent coin.

Rule 9. Coins are Placed Next to Objects

The geometry, material and face value of coins are standardized
by the issuing authority. It follows that a number of derived coin
properties are therefore also set, e.g., electrical conductivity and
resistivity, mass and density. Typically, only the size of coins is
used. A counterexample is available in [34], where the geometry
of coins is used but not to measure the size of objects. Specifically, the depth information of a Lithuanian LTL 2 centai coin is
measured with a terahertz imaging system. The geometry of the
depicted Lithuanian coat of arms is given, and the accuracy of the
imaging system can therefore be derived from the measurement.

Rule 13. The Displayed Side of the Coin is a
Currency Specific Preference

Sometimes, coins are placed behind objects (2), in front of
objects (2), under objects (6), and on objects (4). In [32], a microscale pressure sensing system is placed on the edge of a
nickel (0.05 USD). In some publications the coins are placed on
less important parts of the objects, e.g., a substrate (7), a metal
sheet (3) or under a temperature sensor tag [33]. In [18] the
coins are placed next to the objects but behind graphs which
are superimposed on the photographs.

There seems to be no consensus which side of the coin should
be visible. 36 of the USD coins in the investigated papers are
shown on the obverse, and 18 USD coins are shown on the reverse. Out of the EUR coins used in the investigated papers,
only one in [35] is shown on the obverse. 76 EUR coins are
shown on the reverse. For CNY coins no preference is apparent from the sample: 12 coins are shown on the obverse and 12
coins are shown on the reverse. Or maybe the visible side of the
coin is decided by coin flip.

Rule 10. Coins are Used to Measure Size in
Photographs and Only in Photographs

Rule 14. Representations of Currencies Other
Than Coins are Not Used

In [9] and [19], photographs of coins are placed next to
sketches. Coins are placed next to photographs of the objects
and measured curves are superimposed on the photos in [18].

Counterexamples are given in Fig. 7. Fig. 7a shows the size of
a dipole antenna [36] measured with a 100 RSD banknote. In
Fig. 7b the size of an inverted-F antenna [37] is measured with
a cash card.

Rule 11. Coins are Not Used as Lower and Upper
Bounds of Size
Typically, an object will be smaller or larger than a coin. Coins
are then used either as a lower or as an upper bound of size.
A counterexample is given in Fig. 6 where the size of a 1 EUR
coin is measured to be larger than a 20 EUR cent coin and
smaller than a 50 EUR cent coin. The example is chosen such
that it highlights other peculiar properties of coin-based size
measurements. First, coins are not part of a coherent measurement system. Second, measurements of size based on coins
are not linear, e.g., 2 · 0.5 EUR ≠ 1 EUR. Third, and most surprisingly, they are not even ordered, e.g., the size of a 0.5 EUR

Predictions
Rule 15. Adherence to Coin Measurement Rules
Correlates with Better Paper Quality
Even if these rules were previously unwritten, they were evident to experts working in the field. A deep understanding
of a technical subject would therefore be correlated to a deep
understanding of the rules on coin usage. In simple terms:
if someone has been working (and contributing) a lot in this
field of research, they would have both a better understanding in this scientific field and a better understanding of coin
usage. Adherence to coin measurement rules in a publication
will therefore be positively correlated with performance indicators. This prediction is fortified by the large number of
photographs with coins reused in review articles.

Rule 16. Coins are Preferred to Other Objects
with Standardized Geometry Due to Their
Monetary Value
Fig. 6. The size of a one EUR coin is measured by giving the lower and upper
bound on its size as 0.2 EUR < 1 EUR < 0.5 EUR.
April 2020	

Other objects with standardized size certainly exist, e.g., paper sizes in ISO216, ISO68-1 metric screws or postage stamps.

IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine	91



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