Delayed citation impact of interdisciplinary research

Yang Zhang, Yang Wang, Haifeng Du, Shlomo Havlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Interdisciplinary research increasingly fuels innovation, and is a key input for future breakthroughs. Yet the timing of when interdisciplinary research achieves its highest citation impact remains unclear. Here, we use the time of a paper to reach its citation peak to quantify citation dynamics, and examine its relationship with paper interdisciplinarity. Using large scale publication datasets spanning over 37 years, our results suggest that interdisciplinary papers show significant delayed citation impact both at the individual paper level and collectively, as it takes longer for highly interdisciplinary papers to reach their citation peak as well as their half citations. Such relationships are nearly universal across various scientific disciplines and time periods. Furthermore, we study the underlying forces behind this delayed impact, finding that the effect goes beyond the Matthew effect (i.e., the rich-get-richer effect). Although team size and content conventionality are partly related to the citation delay, they cannot fully explain this effect. Overall, our results suggest that governments, research administrators, and funding agencies should be aware of this general feature of interdisciplinary science, which may have broad policy implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101468
JournalJournal of Informetrics
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Funding

We thank Dashun Wang, Zhongyang He, Yi Bu, Zhesi Shen, three referees, and all members of the New Urbanization and Sustainable Development Research Group for their comments. Yang Wang thanks Kellogg School of Management for providing the access to the Dimensions data. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant nos. 72004177 , and L1924078 , the China Association of Higher Education under Grant no. 23YZF0204 , and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities under Grant no. SK2023082 . We thank Dashun Wang, Zhongyang He, Yi Bu, Zhesi Shen, three referees, and all members of the New Urbanization and Sustainable Development Research Group for their comments. Yang Wang thanks Kellogg School of Management for providing the access to the Dimensions data. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant nos. 72004177, and L1924078, the China Association of Higher Education under Grant no. 23YZF0204, and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities under Grant no. SK2023082.

FundersFunder number
China Association of Higher Education23YZF0204
Kellogg School of Management
National Natural Science Foundation of China72004177, L1924078
Fundamental Research Funds for the Central UniversitiesSK2023082

    Keywords

    • Citation peak
    • Delayed citation impact
    • Interdisciplinary research
    • Science of science
    • The Matthew effect

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