New Papers

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Sun Oct 17 13:58:43 EDT 2010

Dear Neil and colleagues,


Thank you for the alternative interpretation:

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.


Isn’t this almost the definition of a research front? The two-year impact
factor was invented (by Garfield) to grasp this short-term effect. Research
fronts cannot be expected to operate in all sciences. In the social
sciences, particularly, that is a doubtful assumption.


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. 


The mass of hot and highly-cited papers at research fronts will not
necessarily make it to the top-1% because there are so many of them. (There
may be a mechanism like preferential attachment at work.)


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.)


Yes: source-normalization is now very much on the research agenda, isn’t it?
Highly-citedness may have a number of causes; for example, the hotness of
topics. As shown before, also standardizing methods (e.g., Lowry et al.,
1951) may lead to high citation rates. Yet, the issue of this one paper was
about a statistical relation between the highly citedness of citing and
cited papers. The analysis was pursued at the document level: one could
metaphorically say that there is an elite layer of papers. Those who carry
in that elite structure participate in an additional communication layer.


Neil Smalheiser


Best wishes, 




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:



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