(19 November 2018) Only a small minority of all scientific publications contain genuine scientific breakthroughs. It takes, in general, a considerable amount of time before a scientific discovery is recognized as a breakthrough. The authors show that combining decision heuristics with algorithms that analyse the response of the scientific community to a research publication enables the detection of breakthroughs at an early stage.
Scientific journals worldwide are flooded each day with thousands of publications reporting interesting insights, minor discoveries, or – rarely – genuine scientific breakthroughs. Scientific breakthroughs are those sudden discoveries that have a major impact on follow-up scientific research. With more than a million research publications per year, is it possible to detect breakthrough publications at a very early stage after they are published? Or are we forced to wait patiently for several years and let time decide which of the many ‘potential breakthroughs’ really make a huge difference in terms of scientific or socioeconomic impact? In this blog post, Jos Winnink, Robert Tijssen and Ton van Raan report on their algorithm-based efforts to tackle these questions.
CWTS has the full article by Jos Winnink, Robert Tijssen, Ton van Raan