Research addressing emerging technological ideas has greater scientific impact

This study empirically examines the association between the extent of emerging technological ideas in a scientific publication and its future scientific impact measured by number of citations. We analyze metadata of scientific publications in three scientific domains: Nano-Enabled Drug Delivery, Synthetic Biology, and Autonomous Vehicles. By employing a bibliometric indicator for identifying and quantifying emerging technological ideas – as derived terms from the titles and abstracts – we measure the extent to which the publication contains emerging technological ideas in each domain. Then, we statistically estimate the size and statistical significance of the relationship between the publication-level technological emergence score and the normalized number of citations accruing to the publication.

Our analysis shows that the degree to which a paper contains technologically emerging ideas is positively and strongly associated with its future citation impact in each of the three domains. An additional analysis demonstrates that this relationship holds for citations from other publications, both in the same field as, and in different fields from, the scientific domain of the focal publication. A series of tests for validation further support our argument that the greater the extent to which scientific knowledge (a paper) contains emerging ideas, the bigger its scientific impact. Implications for academic researchers, research policymakers, and firms are discussed.

Author(s): Seokbeom Kwon, Xiaoyu Liu, Alan L. Porter, Jan Youtie
Organization(s): Georgia Institute of Technology, Beijing Institute of Technology
Source: Research Policy
Year: 2019

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