Bornmann, Lutz Lutz.Bornmann at GV.MPG.DE
Sun Oct 17 13:52:47 EDT 2010

Dear Neil,
yes, there might be a hot topic effect. But I do not see how this explanation
contracts our interpretations. I only see a problem with your statement that
"even middling papers with good timing will be cited a lot". If a scientist
has a good timing, identify a hot topic within a field very early and publish
a contribution very fast, one can assume that this paper is not bad. The
scientist must have a good knowledge on his/her field and good scientists do
not write bad papers (as a general rule).
However, we speculate. It would be worth to investigate that.


Von: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics im Auftrag von Smalheiser, Neil
Gesendet: So 17.10.2010 18:58
Betreff: Re: [SIGMETRICS] New Papers

As I read the "Ortega hypothesis" paper, I see a glaring issue.

The authors do say "It is not yet clear (especially for the social sciences)
whether citation impact is a good approximation of actual research impact and
of the role of research in scientific
advancements."  Yet their confident interpretations and conclusions rest
entirely on that assumption.

Here is an alternative interpretation: Certain fields are "hot" and have a
lot of people working in them very actively, at least for a while. The papers
that deal with "hot topics" will garner a lot of interest and citations, and
will cite each other. Even middling papers with good timing will be cited a
lot. And this is without asking whether "hot topics" really have more
long-term impact than other areas when viewed (say) 20 or 50 years later.

Do we believe that the best work will deal with "hot topics"?  At the very
least, analyses of impact should not simply deal with entire disciplines, but
should take into account the community structure of the field that cites the
index paper. (My apologies if that has been dealt with by the authors in
other venues.)

Neil Smalheiser

From: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics [SIGMETRICS at LISTSERV.UTK.EDU]
On Behalf Of Bornmann, Lutz [Lutz.Bornmann at GV.MPG.DE]
Sent: Saturday, October 16, 2010 1:41 PM
Subject: [SIGMETRICS] New Papers

Dear colleague:

You might be interested in two new papers. Recently, Nature News reported on
the first one

1) Bornmann, L. de Moya Anegón, F., & Leydesdorff, L. (2010). Do scientific
advancements lean on the shoulders of giants? A bibliometric investigation of
the Ortega hypothesis. PLoS ONE, 5(10), e13327:

More information about the SIGMETRICS mailing list